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John A. Pollock

Professor and Co-Director of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium / Director of the Partnership in Education
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

222A Mellon Hall
Phone: 412.855.4043


Ph.D., Biophysics, Syracuse University, 1984
M.S., Physics, Syracuse University, 1983
B.S., Physics, Syracuse University, 1978

Dr. John Pollock wins two Emmy Awards

2018 Presidential Award - National Science Foundation & White House
Awarded for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring
Presidential Award

2018 Presidential Award - Duquesne University
Awarded for Faculty Excellence in Service to the Mission

2018 Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences Award
Awarded for Faculty Excellence in Service to the Mission

2018 Parents' Choice Award ‘Recommended' to J. Pollock for mobile app REBOUND: BEATING CONCUSSION

2017 Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences Award
Awarded for Faculty Excellence in Scholarship

2017 Apple Award for Distinguished Educator

Apple Distinguished Educator

TEDx Talk: TEDxYouth@SquirrelHill "STORY" (Published Nov 16, 2016)
Dr. John Archie Pollock. "Human evolution and the unique abilities that humans have to tell stories through technology, art, literature and now through videos, apps and ebooks."

"Pollock to Discuss the Importance of Storytelling in Learning Science at TEDxYouth Conference" -- Published in the Duquesne University Times

2016 CITYHACKS: IN SEARCH OF SLEEP (a Bibliotech eBook)

— WINNER OF International Serious Play Competition Bronze Honors 2016
Parents' Choice Award ‘Recommended'

2016 Parents' Choice Award ‘Recommended' to J. Pollock for mobile app DARWIN SYNTHETIC INTERVIEW

2015 Emmy® Award for Children/Youth/Teen - Program or Special to Scientastic! "ARE YOU SLEEPING?" John Pollock, Executive Producer from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Mid-Atlantic Chapter)

2015 Emmy® Award for Musical Composition/Arrangement to Scientastic! "ARE YOU SLEEPING?" John Pollock, Executive Producer from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Mid-Atlantic Chapter)

2014 Inaugural Provost's Interdisciplinary Research Consortia Grant (John Pollock & Jelena Janjic Co-investigators)

2013 Duquesne University President's Award for Excellence in Teaching
Awarded in recognition of extraordinary service rendered

2013 Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences Award
Awarded for Faculty Excellence in Teaching

Carnegie Science Award 2011
Special Recognition in Science Education

2010 Duquesne University Research Hall of Fame



Molecular Neurobiology

My research is focused on the basic biology of the nervous system and is currently exploring chronic pain. 

Since the 1980s, I have explored the development of nerve cells in the fruit fly eye. Among other things, we have found that the RUNX1 transcription factor, LOZENGE, initially influence cells with undetermined fates to choose survival over death. We have also found that LOZENGE proteins contribute to helping a cell choose a specific fate. We have investigated what genes regulate lozenge and in turn, what LOZENGE protein specifically regulates during axon growth and guidance. Our research uses a combination of confocal microscopy techniques as well as quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis of mRNA expression among other approaches.

New research directions include the analysis of TRP (calcium channel) in the context of a rat chronic pain model. The extensive family of TRP related proteins are intimately involved in pain physiology. As Co-Director of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium (http://www.duq.edu/pain), I am collaborating with Dr. Jelena Janjc (Mylan School of Pharmacy).  We are using small animal imaging to co-localize the immune system response to chronic pain and changes in TRP expression through the use of theranostic nanoparticles. We can visualize changes in neuroinflammation in live animals and also use the nanoparticles as a targeted drug delivery mechanism.

Partnerships in Education

My research creates new multimedia learning resources that focus on fundamental principles of science and health literacy, and then explores how people learn from these new resources.

As Director of the Partnership in Education I strive to create a strong and accessible scientific dialogue between the research community and the general public and classrooms. To achieve this, I create informal science education pieces for use in museums including planetariums shows, exhibits, interactive media and supporting teacher resource materials (www.sepa.duq.edu). Research evaluates how effective the new learning tools are as well as how people learn. Topics have included tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, and the fundamental principles of evolution (www.sepa.duq.edu/darwin). Collaborative partners have included the Carnegie Science Center, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, The National Aviary, The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public School, and American Philosophical Society Museum-Philadelphia.

I have also created a children's television show called Scientastic! (www.ScientasticTV.com). Scientastic has been broadcast on public television stations nationwide. A companion App called Powers of Minus Ten-Bones is available from iTunes.

Project funding has come from Science Education Partnership Awards from the National Institutes of Health, and from the US Department of Education, The Pittsburgh Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and UPMC Health Plan, among others.


Recent Publications

J. M. Janjic, K. Vasudeva, M. Saleem, A. Stevens, L. Liu, S. Patel, J. A. Pollock (2018) Low-dose NSAIDs reduce pain via targeted nanoemulsion delivery to neuroinflammation in Rat. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 318, 72-79. 

Lampe, David J; Kantorski, Brinley; Pollock, John A. (2018) Charles Darwin Synthetic Interview. Journal of STEM Outreach, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, Jan. 2018.

Vasudeva K, Vodovotz , Azhar N, Barclay D, Janjic JM, Pollock JA (2015) In Vivo and Systems Biology Studies Implicate IL-18 as a Central Mediator in Chronic Pain, Journal of Neuroimmunology, doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.04.012.

Vasudeva K, Andersen K, Zeyzus-Johns B, Hitchens TK, Patel SK, Balducci A, Janjic JM, Pollock JA (2014) Imaging Neuroinflammation In Vivo in a Neuropathic Pain Rat Model with Near-Infrared Fluorescence and 19F Magnetic Resonance. PLoS ONE 9(2): e90589. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090589

S. K. Patel, M. J. Patrick, J. A. Pollock, J. M. Janjic (2013) Two-color fluorescent (near-infrared and visible) triphasic perfluorocarbon nanoemuslions. J. Biomed. Opt. 18 (10), 101312 (August 02, 2013); doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.10.101312

Jelena M. Janjic, Sravan K. Patel, Michael J. Patrick, John A. Pollock, Erin DiVito, Michael Cascio. Proceedings Article | February 21, 2013:
Suppressing inflammation from inside out with novel NIR visible perfluorocarbon nanotheranostics. Proc. SPIE. 8596, Reporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications V 85960L (February 21, 2013) doi: 10.1117/12.2004625

Patel SK, Zhang Y, Pollock JA, Janjic JM (2013) Cyclooxgenase-2 Inhibiting Perfluoropoly (Ethylene Glycol) Ether Theranostic Nanoemulsions–In Vitro Study. PLoS ONE 8(2): e55802. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055802

A. Wilson, L. Gonzalez, J. A. Pollock (2012) Evaluating learning and attitudes on tissue engineering: A study of children viewing animated digital dome shows detailing the biomedicine of tissue engineering. Tissue Engineering (Part A), vol 18, no. 5 576-586. PMID:21943030

J. Ricou, J. A. Pollock (2012) The Tree, The Spiral And The Web of Life: A Visual Exploration. Leonardo Journal, Volume 45, No. 1, 18-25. Download from Leonardo Journal

J. Ricou, D. Commisso, L. Gonzalez, J. A. Pollock (2011) The Evolution Of Evolution: The Tree, The Spiral And The Web of Life, International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE), Volume 2, Issue 4, 554 - 557. Download

K. Lawrence, C. Stilley, J.A. Pollock, D. Webber, E. Quivers (2011) A family-centered educational program to promote independence in pediatric heart transplant recipients. Progress in Transplantation, Vol 21. March 2011. Download

N.A. Siddall, G.R. Hime, J.A. Pollock, P. Batterham (2009) Ttk69-dependent regulation of lozenge expression is necessary for correct R7 differentiation in the developing eye of Drosophila melanogaster. Biomed Central: Developmental Biology Dec 9; 9:64.

J.P. McKay, B. Nightingale and J.A. Pollock (2008) Helmsman is expressed in both trachea and Photoreceptor development; partial inactivation alters trachea morphology and visually guided behavior. Journal of Neurogenetics, Apr-Jun;22(2):1. Download

S. Sethi, W. Adams, J.A. Pollock and P.A. Witt-Enderby (2008) C-terminal domains within human MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptors are involved in internalization processes. J Pineal Res. 2008 Mar 13. Download

K. Behan, J. Fair, S. Singh, M. Bogwitz, T. Perry, V. Grubor, F. Cunningham, C. Nichols, T. Cheung, P. Batterham and J.A. Pollock (2005) Alternative splicing removes an Ets interaction domain from Lozenge during Drosophila eye development. Dev Genes Evol. 215:423-435.Download

N. Siddall, K.J. Behan, N., J.R. Crew, T.L. Cheung, J.A. Fair, P. Batterham, and J.A. Pollock (2003) Mutations in lozenge and D-Pax2 invoke ectopic patterned cell death in the developing Drosophila eye using distinct mechanisms. Dev Genes Evol 213:107-119. Download

K.J. Behan, C.D. Nichols, T. L. Cheung, A. Farlow, B. M. Hogan P. Batterham and JA Pollock (2002) Yan regulates Lozenge during Drosophila eye development. Dev Genes Evol, 212:267-276. Download

Selected Publications Before 1999

J.R. Crew, P. Batterham, and J.A. Pollock (1997) Developing compound eye in lozenge mutants of Drosophila: lozenge expression in the R7 equivalence group. Development Genes and Evolution 206, 481-493. Download

B. Gillo, I. Chorna, H. Cohen, B. Cook, I. Manistersky, O. Devary, A. Arnon, A. Baumann, U.B. Kaupp, J.A. Pollock, Z. Selinger and B. Minke (1996) Co-expression of Drosophila TRP and TRPL in Xenopus oocytes reconstitutes a capacitative Ca 2+ entry similar to the light-activated conductance. PNAS USA 93, 14146-14151. Download

M. E. Martone, J. A. Pollock, Y. Yhang, Y. and M. H. Ellisman (1996) Ultrastructural localization of dendritic messenger RNA in adult rat hippocampus. J. Neuroscience 16: 7437-7446.Download

J.A. Pollock, A. Asaf, A. Peretz, C. Nichols, M.H. Mojet, R.C. Hardie and B. Minke (1995) TRP, a protein essential for inositide-mediated Ca2+ influx is localized adjacent to the calcium stores in Drosophila photoreceptors. J. Neurosci. 15, 3747 3760. Download

R. C. Hardie, A. Peretz, J. A. Pollock, B. Minke (1993) Ca2+ Limits the Development of the Light Response in Drosophila Photoreceptors. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B.252, 223-229.

B. Rudy, C. Kentros, M. Weiser, D. Fruhling, P. Serodio, E. Vega-Saenz de Miera, M. H. Ellisman, J. A. Pollock, H. Baker (1992) Region-Specific Expression of a K+ channel gene in Brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 89, 4603 - 4607.

D. R. Hyde, K. L. Mecklenburg, J. A. Pollock, T. Vihtelic, Seymour Benzer (1990) Twenty Drosophila Visual System cDNA Clones: One Is A Homologue Of Human Arrestin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 87, 1008-1012.

J.A. Pollock and Seymour Benzer (1988) Transcript Localization of Four Opsin Genes In the Three Visual Organs in Drosophila; RH2 is Ocellus Specific. Nature 333, 779-782.

U. Banerjee, P. J. Renfranz, J. A. Pollock, Seymour Benzer (1987) Molecular Characterization and Expression of sevenless, a Gene Involved in Neural Pattern Formation in the Drosophila Eye. Cell 49, 281-291.


Dr. John Archie Pollock is currently a Full Professor of Biological Sciences at Duquesne University. Dr. Pollock holds appointments as Visiting Professor with the Entertainment Technology Center, jointly managed by Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science. Dr. Pollock is also an Affiliated Faculty with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

Dr. Pollock is an educator who teaches courses in his expertise including neuroscience, microscopy, molecular and cellular biology. His outreach teaching has included working with informal science education in museums and for broadcast television. Currently, he also participates in weekly activities with young learners (4 -7 year olds) and 5th - 7th grades.

As a scientist, Dr. Pollock has spent over 25 years as a principal investigator directing a continuously funded research program in basic science investigating the development of the nervous system. He is also studying chronic pain and the changes in gene expression that are associated with it. He received his Bachelor of Science in physics and also completed a major in philosophy at Syracuse University. He then earned a Masters of Science in physics, as well as his Doctor of Philosophy in biophysics, also from Syracuse University. In order to study in the laboratory of Prof. Seymour Benzer, a pioneer in neuro-genetic and behavioral research, Dr. Pollock moved to Caltech in Pasadena, California. From Caltech, he moved to Carnegie Mellon University to serve as Assistant and then Associate Professor of Biology for 12 years before joining Duquesne University in 2001.

Dr. Pollock is co-director and partnering principal investigator for the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University. This research collaborative is engaging faculty distributed between several colleges and schools at Duquesne University to focus on the study of chronic pain in relationship to regenerative medicine. In addition to conducting research and teaching, Dr. Pollock has served as founding director for the Partnership in Education, which produces multimedia based informal science education projects that are artistically rich STEM learning resources including videos, TV shows, Apps, videogames and teaching resources for young people and the general public. The funding for this work has come from three separate Science Education Partnership Awards from the National Institutes of Health, which have provided support from 2000-2019. Additional support for science education has come from the US Department of Education, The Pittsburgh Foundation, UPMC Health Plan, and The John Templeton Foundation, among others.

Honors and awards include: Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation Research Award, James A. Shannon Director's Award from the National Institutes of Health, Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Visiting Scholar Award from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Australia, a Grass Foundation Traveling Lecturer for the Society for Neuroscience.

Duquesne University recently recognized Dr. Pollock for the significant and consistent funding that he has generated and awarded him induction into the Office of Research Hall of Fame 2010. In recognition for work in science education, Dr. Pollock was awarded the Carnegie Science Award, Special Achievement in Education 2011.

In 2013, Dr Pollock was recipient of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching, in recognition of outstanding instruction provided. Later that same year, Dr. Pollock was honored with Duquesne University President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In 2014, the Dr. Pollock, along with Dr. Jelena Janjic, shared the inaugural Provost's Interdisciplinary Research Consortia Grant, which provides University funding for interdisciplinary research and scholarship for the Chronic Pain Research Consortium.


BIOL 475/575            Neurobiology

BIOL 376/576            Super Lab VI: Microscopy