John A. Pollock, PhD

Dr. John Pollock is the Full Professor of Biological Science at Duquesne University. He is also a Visiting Professor at the BrainHub at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Pollock graduated from Syracuse University with a BS in Physics with a second major in Philosophy, continuing his studies to earn a MS Physics and his PhD in Biophysics also at Syracuse University. He did his post-doctoral training at the California Institute of Technology, where he studied the molecular neurogenetics of the developing eye and brain.

Dr. Pollock’s current research involves identifying genes involved in neural development, perception, and pain sensation. To do this he studies behavior, expression profiling, molecular cell biology, and uses advanced microscopy. He is also collaborating with Jelena Janjic, Ph.D., using dual labeled nanoparticles, which permit the tagging of circulating monocytes and macrophages. These labeled cells aggregate at the site of neuroinflammation and can be combined with behavioral and molecular approaches to place these observations in the context of the molecular cascade that facilitates changes associated with the transition from acute to chronic pain.  In this capacity, Dr. Pollock also serves as the Co-Director of the Duquesne University Chronic Pain Research Consortium.

In addition to his research, Dr. Pollock has taken a leadership role as Director of the Partnership in Education and has created several related informal science education projects including films for young people and the general public. Other projects have celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and involved a multi-year and city-wide partnership with several museums. Among the exhibits developed was the Darwin Synthetic Interview, which is now available as an award-winning app for iOS and Android devices. Dr. Pollock has also produced two Scientastic! television shows, “Sticks & Stones” about broken bones and also “Are you sleeping?” about sleep.  The sleep show went on to win two regional Emmy® Awards; both shows are now available on Amazon, iTunes and GooglePlay.  Dr. Pollock has also produced award winning iOS/Android apps including Powers of Minus Ten – Bone, CITYHACKS: In Search of Sleep, REBOUND: Beating Concussion, and the health literacy apps for pediatric liver transplant patients – Jadyn’s Journey to Health and Sierra’s Journey to Health. His latest projects include, YOU MAKE ME SICK a table-top game about infectious disease including COVID-19, an immune system app on acne called Dermis Defense, and a growing series on infographics called interFACTives on stress and anxiety complemented with a collection of YouTube videos on stress management.

Dr. Pollock received Carnegie Science Award, Special Achievement in Education in 2011 for his work in science and health literacy education.  Dr. Pollock is recipient of the three separate Bayer School of Science Awards for Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Scholarship and Excellence in Service to the Mission. He has also been awarded the Duquesne University Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching as well as Excellence in Service to the Mission.  Named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2017, by the Apple Corporation, he was also elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2018.  In part, because of his extensive and diverse mentoring, he received national recognition and was honored with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring by the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, class of 2015.  In 2020, he received the Science Educator award from the Society for Neuroscience / Dana Foundation. Dr. Pollock is engaged in community service and among other activities is a Trustee and member of the Board for the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

A list of of Dr. Pollock’s selected publications can be found here.

Read more about Dr. Pollock here.