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Duquesne University Biologist Honored for Health Literacy Efforts

Dr. John A. Pollock, associate professor of biological sciences at Duquesne University and director of the Regenerative Medicine Partnership in Education, was honored by the Carnegie Science Center with its first special recognition award.


The Carnegie Science Awards promote outstanding science and technology achievements in the region. Pollock was selected to receive the inaugural Carnegie Science Award: Special Recognition in Science Education on May 6 for bringing science to children and the public through films, such as Our Cells, Ourselves which explores evolution and how immune system conditions may have given rise to juvenile diabetes. Pollock also led the city-wide celebration of Charles Darwin and the discovery of the fundamental principles of evolution, ultimately bridging museum informal science education to the standard curriculum in the public schools.

Pollock’s TV pilot of Scientastic!, a show based on children doing research with real professionals in the Pittsburgh area, aired on WQED this fall.

A test film for kids with heart transplants helps to teach the kids and their parents about critical aspects of heart transplantation and the child’s continuing treatment. Done in collaboration with Children’s Hospital, the films were found to significantly improve learning.

Pollock also has produced several films in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Institute that have been shown at the Carnegie Science Center planetarium and elsewhere. With Dr. Dave Lampe, associate professor of biological sciences at Duquesne, he coordinated the city’s celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday in 2009.

Besides producing the films and TV show, Pollock oversees the creation of enrichment aids for children and teachers to complement the shows, including video games, apps and online materials.

In the last 10 years, Pollock has received over $4 million in external grants to support his work with principal support from the Science Education Partnership Awards from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and:

  • U.S. Department of Education
  • The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • UPMC Health Plan
  • The John Templeton Foundation and others.

To see his work, visit www.duq.edu/sepa.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.