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Board Member Thomas Pollard Wins Gairdner International Award
Thomas Pollard, MD, professor and chair of molecular, cellular and developmental biology at Yale University and member of AAAS's Board of Directors, was recently awarded the prestigious 2006 Gairdner International Award for his research on cell motility and human disease.
According to the award committee, Pollard was recognized along with Alan Hall of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center “for their discoveries related to understanding the cytoskeleton of the cell and the basis of cell motility and its relevance to human disease.”
"Understanding cellular movements is important for human health,” Pollard said. “On the positive side white blood cells must move to defend us against infections. On the negative side the movement of malignant cells from primary tumors is the main cause of death in cancer."
Over the past thirty years, Pollard has been a pioneer in biochemical and biophysical analysis of the actin cytoskeleton - the filament airways that contribute to cellular movement, shape changes, adhesion and uptake of fluids. His discoveries include the basis for directional actin polymerization - the exploration of actin capping, severing and nucleation factors and the mechanisms of actin-based intracellular movement.
Pollard has held positions at National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Medical School as well as served as the president of The Salk Institute from 1996 to 2000. In addition to winning numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the E.B. Wilson Medal, Pollard is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences of the United States , and the Institute of Medicine .
Founded by James A. Gairdner in 1957, the Gairdner Foundation is a non-profit organization created to recognize and reward achievements of scientists who have contributed significant research “to the conquest for disease and relief of human suffering.”
The annual award, presented by the Gairdner Foundation since 1959, recognizes scientists worldwide for outstanding and significant contributions to medical science. In addition to the citation, winners are awarded $30,000 (Canadian) for personal use.
To this date, of the 279 Gairdner award winners, 65 have become Nobel laureates.
17 July 2006