MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
MRC Logo 2021

Centre Director: Professor Jeffrey W Pollard

Introduction to Professor Jeffrey William Pollard.

Professor Jeff W Pollard

Director of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, The University of Edinburgh

Contact details

Address

Street

The Queen's Medical Research Insitiute
Edinburgh BioQuarter
47 Little France Crescent

City
Edinburgh
Post Code
EH16 4TJ

Bibliography

Professor Pollard graduated with a first-class special honours degree in Zoology from Sheffield University followed by a PhD at Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now CRUK) in London. He spent a post-doctoral period at Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto and thereafter, took a Faculty position at King’s College University of London. In 1988 he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York where he worked for 24 years prior to coming to Edinburgh in 2013 as Director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Reproductive Health. At the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Professor Pollard was the Louis Goldstein Swann Chair in Women’s Health, Deputy Director of the NCI funded Cancer Center, and Director of the NIH funded Center for the Study of Reproductive Biology and Women’s Health.

Professor Pollard is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. He has published over 275 papers and edited several books/journal issues including “Metastasis: Mechanisms to Therapy” book published by Cold Spring Harbor Press in 2019.

Research Impact

He has an H-impact of 111, has been in the Clarivate top 1% of cited researchers for many years  and in the 2019 assessment of research impact he is in the top 0.01% of cited scientist out of ~7 million (https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000384). Prof Pollard has presented at over 250 international symposia and numerous lectures throughout the world. He has Chaired Gorden conferences, AACR special meetings, a Keystone meeting and will co-Chair another in 2023. He also ran an international training course in mouse genetic technologies for many years at Einstein that trained the next generation in transgenic technologies, and he founded the yearly Macrophage symposia in Edinburgh. As well as being published in numerous prestigious journals and books, his research has been featured in the Emmy Award winning ABC documentary “Breast Cancer Now: New Options and New Promise”,  has been reported in all types of media including television on three continents and press all over the world.

Awards

Professor Pollard has received several awards most notably the American Cancer Society “Medal of Honour for Basic Science Research” for his studies in tumour immunology (2010), Rothschild Yvette–Meynet Curie award (2009), the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2013 – 2018) and the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2013 – 2021).

Research

Prof Pollard has performed research in women’s reproductive health for his entire career with an emphasis on:

 i)  the mechanisms of action of female sex steroid hormones in controlling uterine cell proliferation.

He has defined the mechanism of progesterone in negatively regulating oestrogen-induced epithelial cell proliferation and in the preparation of the uterus for blastocyst implantation. His focus has particularly been on the role of downstream signalling from the reproductive hormone receptors through growth factor signalling and the engagement of KLF transcription factors.  He was the first to link sex steroid hormone action with the immune system through their regulation of hematopoietic cytokines and growth factors, particularly colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) that regulates macrophage and trophoblast biology.

ii)  Role of macrophages in homeostasis and tissue repair

Focus has been on the role of macrophages in developmental processes such as stem cell development and in their protection by macrophages following tissue damage. He was the first to show that macrophages regulated branching morphogenesis and neurogenesis and thus that they play a profound role during development.

iii)  The tumour microenvironment.

Prof Pollard pioneered studies on the role of macrophages in tumour progression and was the first to demonstrate that they promote tumour progression and malignancy. His work has focused upon mechanisms behind these pro-tumoral actions of macrophages with a particular emphasis on metastatic disease. Current studies are emphasizing translation of mouse studies to human cancers, particularly breast, ovarian, endometrial and brain.  Definition of regulatory signalling pathways in macrophages has led to clinical trials that target these cells.  

Professor Pollard is also a founding member, director of, and adviser to “Macomics Ltd”- developing novel therapies targeting tumour specific macrophages. https://macomics.com/

Current research projects

  • Modulation of the immune microenvironment in cancers to promote immunotherapy. 
  • Role of tumour associated macrophages in breast cancer progression and metastasis
  • Systemic influence of cancer on haematopoiesis
  • Predictive biomarkers for cancer
  • Role of mononuclear phagocytes in modulating immune rejection of tumours
  • Dynamic interactions between tumour cells, macrophages, and the extracellular matrix in metastatic sites
  • Role of macrophage WNT’s in tissue regeneration, repair and cancer
  • Role of macrophages in development

Current and recent positions of responsibility

  • Director, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, Edinburgh University (2012 to current time)
  • Professor of Resilience Biology, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine (2012 to current time)
  • Wellcome Senior Investigator (2013 to 2021)
  • Director, Specialized Cooperative Center in Reproduction and Infertility Research (2009 – 2014)
  • Deputy Director Einstein Cancer Center (2003 -2013)
  • Science Council, Einstein (2009 – 2012)

Current Honours

  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biologists
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Current Staff Group members and PHD / MD students

  • Daniel Soong (Optical Imaging Manager)
  • Sheila Webb (Lab manager)
  • Marta Horcas Lopez (PhD Student)
  • Nikki Graham (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Florent Petitprez (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Nikolas Giannakis (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  • Karen Witherspoon (PA)

Co-supervisor

  • 2019-Present Alisha May (co-supervisor)
  • 2019-Present Varsha Jain (co-supervisor)

Grants

CURRENT GRANT SUPPORT (UK)

MRC Centre for Reproductive Health

Funding body: Medical Research Council

Title: MRC Centre for Reproductive Health

PI: Level of support: £1,621,175

Duration: 01/09/2016 to 11/09/2022

MRC Doctoral Training Grant, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health

PI: Funding body: Medical Research Council

Title: MRC Centre for Reproductive Health Studentships

Duration: 01/10/2016 to 30/09/2022

Level of support: £735,413.23

CRUK Science Committee - Programme grant

Funding body: CRUK

Title: Systemic and local influences of cancer on myeloid cell biology promote tumor malignancy.

PI. Level of support: £1,917,101

Duration: 01/07/2018 to 01/07/2023

CRUK –Brain Tumor award (TARGET-GBM)*

Funding body: CRUK

PI S. Pollard

Co-PI J.W.Pollard:

Level of support £5,860,000

Duration 01/10/2019 – 30/09/2025

World Class Labs Capital 2020/2021

Funding Body: Epidarex Venture Capital

PI: JW Pollard

Level of support: £3.2 million seed funding

World Class Labs Capital 2020/2021

Funding Body: Capital Equipment Funding

PI: JW Pollard

Level of support: £25,000

World Class Labs Capital 2021/2022

PI  JW Pollard

Level of support £4.24million seed capital

 

Completed

Wellcome Senior Investigator Award

Funding body: Wellcome

Title: The Metastatic Cascade: Macrophages Lead the Way

Level of support: £4,360,573

Duration: Sept 1st 2013 to May 31st 2021

 Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF3) award

Funding body: Wellcome-University of Edinburgh

Co-PI J.W. Pollard

Level of support £10,000

Duration 01/06/20 – 31/07/20

MRC CIC

Funding body: MRC MRC/CIC6/56

Title: Tumour associated macrophages s targets in combination immunotherapy

Level of support: £122,130

Duration: 01/06/2018 to 01/12/18

 

USA

Current

Project Leader and Core C Director: Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard           

Agency:  National Cancer Institute / NIH

Grant Type: Program Project Grant:  Motility and Invasion:  P01CA100324 (years 11-17) / Condeelis, J (PI)

Project Period:  06/01/14-05/31/2020 - Direct Costs pa: $1,214,964                     

Project 1 “Macrophage subtypes in Tumor Progression and Metastasis” - Direct Costs pa $ 147,151 / 1.2 Cal Months

The specific aims of Project 1 are:

1.  Mechanisms for monocyte recruitment and macrophage differentiation in the primary tumor

2.  Molecular basis for the Promotion of Extravasation by Metastasis Associated Macrophages

3.  Definition of Pro-Tumoral Functions of Human breast Cancer TAMs

Program Project Grant:  Motility and Invasion

Core CAnimal Models”             - Direct Costs pa  $ 159,111 / 1.2 Cal Months

The specific aims of Core C are:                                                                                      

1.  Develop and maintain mice in which multiple cell lineages are marked by expression of fluorescent proteins. 

2.  Genetically manipulate the mouse genome in ways relevant to the PPG and develop methodology to conditionally ablate specific genes in individual cell lineages.

3. Provide other techniques relevant to the PPG such as bone marrow and mammary transplantation and transgenic and gene targeting construct advice.

4. Provide assistance in tumor staging and metastasis

 

Completed

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard

Agency:  National Cancer Institute / NIH

Grant Type: RO1 5R01CA172451 

Grant Title: “The Metastatic Cascade: Macrophages Lead the Way”

Project Period:  01/01/13-12/31/18 - Total Direct Cost: $1,960,573 / 1.2 Cal Months (NCE)

The Specific Aims were:

1.  Establish the mechanistic basis for macrophage enhancement of metastatic seeding in the lung.

2.  Mechanistic Basis of CSF-1R Promotion of Persistent Growth

3.  Define the Role of Mononuclear Phagocytes in Bone Marrow Metastasis.

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Lisa Coussens, Oregon Health & Science University

Co- Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Agency:  Department of Defense Era of Hope Extension grant

Project Period:  9/30/11-9/26/16 - Direct Costs:  $84,231 / 0.4 Cal Months                                                  

Grant Title: “Modulating Immune Response to Improve Therapy for Breast Cancer

The Specific Aims are:

1. Identify macrophage biomarkers for breast cancer risk stratification.

2. Determine efficacy of MØ-Blockade in mouse models of mammary carcinogenesis reflecting distinct molecular subtypes and validate biomarker discovery.

3. Conduct proof-of-concept studies that TH1 microenvironment fostered by MØ-Depletion supports efficacious and durable anti-tumor responses to dendritic cell-based vaccine strategies

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard

Agency:  New York State Department of Health “Peter T Rowley Breast Cancer Scientific Research Project”

Grant Title: Macrophages and Immunosuppression in Breast Cancer

Project Period:  1/1/2013-12/31/2015 - Direct Cost:  $360,000 / 1.2 Cal Months

The Specific Aims Are:

1. Test the hypothesis that macrophage depletion alters the tumor microenvironment of PyMT tumors from a tumor promoting to a tumor inhibitory state.

2. To test the hypothesis that the tumor microenvironment favors CD8 T cell tolerance and regulatory T cell expansion.

Multiple Principal Investigators:  Dr Kornelia Polyak (Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute), Dr.Mina Bissell, (Lawrence Berkeley) and Dr. Jeffrey W. Pollard  (The Albert Einstein College of Medicine).

Agency:  National Cancer Institute

Type:  1U01CA143233                                                                           

Project Period:  9/30/2009 – 08/31/2014 - Direct Costs $48,822 / 0.96 Cal Months

Grant Title: "Myoepithelial Cell Differentiation Defects in Ductal Carcinoma in Situ"  

The Specific Aims Are:

1. To identify molecular determinants of normal Mep cells differentiation and their abnormalities in DCIS.

2. To determine if abnormalities of Mep differentiation of DCIS correlate with the risk of progression to invasive disease.

3. To test if modulating signaling pathways involved in Meps differentiation would influence progression to invasion.

Principal Investigator: Jeffery W. Pollard Ph.D.

Agency: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Type: U54HD058155- Direct Cost            $829,765 pa     

Grant Title: “Center for the Study of Reproductive Biology and Women’s Health”

Project 1- Estrogen and Progesterone Regulation of Human Endometrial Cell Proliferation

Project Period: 04/01/2009 – 03/31/2014 - Direct Cost $ 226,804 (Year 4) 2.4 Cal Months                      

No cost extension to 12/31/14  

The Specific aims of this project are:

1. Characterize the regulation of the canonical cell cycle and DNA replication licensing pathways by female sex steroid hormones in human uterine epithelia.

2. Utilize a mouse xenograft model to study the regulation of human endometrial epithelial cell proliferation.

3. Elucidate the cell cycle pathways activated by selective modulation of estradiol and progesterone receptors in xenotransplanted human endometrium.

Administrative Core:    

Direct Costs $92,740      (Year 4) / 0.6 Cal Months

The Specific Aims of the Admin Core D is:                                                      

1. To provide the projects with administrative and secretarial support to carry out the scientific goals of the Center, it’s general administration and fiscal oversight.

2. To provide a central structure for the coordination of research meetings, travel arrangements, journal clubs, work-in-progress sessions and seminars.

3. To facilitate the scientific oversight by the internal and external advisory committees and to prepare progress reports and renewal of the application.

 

Scientific Advisory Boards

Campbell Breast Cancer Center, Toronto (2006 to present); Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University (2013 to present); Sun Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China (2016 to present); MD Anderson Cancer Center/Baylor College PO1, Houston, USA (2017 to present).

Awards

Professor Pollard has received several awards most notably the American Cancer Society “Medal of Honour for Basic Science Research” for his studies in tumour immunology (2010), Rothschild Yvette–Meynet Curie award (2009), the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2013 – 2018) and the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (2013 – 2020).

Key Talks given by Professor Pollard

Key broadcast coverage

ABC Breast Cancer: New options and new promise

Live BBC broadcast, 04.03.16 – Professor Pollard commented on Dr. Sergio Quezada and Prof Charles Swanton and colleagues’ paper “Clonal neoantigens elicit T cell immunoreactivity and sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade”, which was published in Science.

Publications