Professor Tom Pollard will deliver the 2014 Paul Doty Lecture on Sept 5th, 2013. This lecture is presented annually to celebrate the scientific and public policy achievements of Professor Paul Doty, founder of both the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (currently, Molecular and Cellular Biology) and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Dr. Pollard will present his lecture, titled “Quantitative analysis of actin dynamics during cellular motility, endocytosis and cytokinesis” at 12 pm in room B-103 of the Northwest Building.
Dr. Pollard is the Sterling Professor of Molecular Cellular & Developmental Biology and of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University, as well as the Dean of the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He is well known as an exceptional scientist and is one of the central figures in cell biology. His work has consistently combined the classic tools of biochemistry with cutting edge developments in genetics, quantitative microscopy, computational modeling, and biophysics. With a career spanning over 4 decades, Dr. Pollard has made seminal discoveries in the understanding of biological force generation by motor proteins and cytoskeletal filaments. His group has worked to identify and characterize the proteins necessary for cell motility. His work includes the discovery of the first non-muscle myosin, the actin nucleation complex Arp2/3, and capping protein.
In addition to his scientific discoveries, Dr. Pollard has made major contributions to science advocacy, administration and education. He has co-written a textbook for graduate and undergraduate students, Cell Biology, that has been translated into four languages and is now in its second edition. He has been active in the Coalition for Life Sciences, a political advocacy group, since 1990, and now is on the Board of Directors of that organization. Through editorial pieces in Cell, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, and MBoC, he has promoted awareness and involvement in public policy as a vital responsibility for scientists. Finally, he has served in numerous high-profile administrative positions, including the President of the Salk Institute and two professional organizations, the Biophysical Society and American Society for Cell Biology.
Pollard graduated with a BS from Pomona and then earned his MD from Harvard Medical School. Following this, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Ed Korn at NIH. He has been on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, John Hopkins, and the Salk Institute. Dr. Pollard has been awarded the Howard T. Ricketts Award, the Rosenstiel Award, the E.B. Wilson Medal, and the Gairdner International Award in Biomedical Sciences. He is also a member of National Academy of Sciences.
Doty was the Mallinckrodt Professor of Biochemistry Emeritus and also Director, Emeritus, of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which he founded at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1974. He passed away on December 5, 2011.
As a biochemist, Doty elucidated the structure and function of large molecules, ranging from the polymers in plastics and fibers, to polypeptides and polynucleotides. He is perhaps best known for demonstrating the denaturation of the double-stranded DNA molecule and its reuniting through hybridization; this technique was key to the era of recombinant DNA research.
As an advocate for arms control, Doty led and participated in many initiatives to bring Russian and American scientists together in pursuit of international security, making more than 40 trips to the Soviet Union. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) during the Kennedy Administration. After retirement, he continued working in this area, for example serving as board member of Soros’ International Science Foundation that provided critical research support to Russian scientists in the 1990s.
Read more on Paul Doty in Science Retrospective