It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our esteemed colleague and friend, Professor Jeff W. Pollard, on 1 May 2023.
Jeff, who died peacefully at home after struggling against cancer, was a Founder, Director, and adviser to Macomics Limited, and was passionate about developing novel therapies targeting tumour-associated macrophages.
Jeff was also a Professor of Resilience Biology in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh, and for nearly a decade led the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Reproductive Health (CRH), as Director, (2013-2022).
Jeff leaves a huge legacy to the cancer research community and to the world of macrophage and reproductive biology.
Jeff 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 moving to Edinburgh in 2013 as Director of the MRC 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.
Jeff performed research in women’s reproductive health for his entire career with a recent emphasis on the mechanisms of action of female sex steroid hormones in controlling cell proliferation and on the tumour microenvironment of breast cancer. In the former programme his lab sought to understand the mechanism of progesterone in negatively regulating oestrogen-induced uterine epithelial cell proliferation and in the preparation of the uterus for blastocyst implantation. In the latter programme, he pioneered studies on the role of macrophages and demonstrated that they promote tumour progression and malignancy. His work focused upon mechanisms behind these pro-tumoral actions of macrophages with a particular emphasis on metastatic disease.
Jeff was a member of the COST actions Mye-EUNITER and Mye-InfoBank, an European multi-centre initiative focused on identifying novel myeloid targets for cancer therapy.
Fellowships and awards
Jeff was 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.
Jeff Pollard 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).
With his devoted wife and lifelong partner Ooi Thye Chong he shared an enduring passion for Japanese art, food and wine.