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Robert Pollack
Professor of Biological Sciences
Director of Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR)
Director of University Seminars

Robert Pollack, Professor of Biological Sciences, joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1978.  His teaching focuses on the application of knowledge of the natural world to problems that require decisions which cannot be based solely on such data-driven knowledge.   Until 1991 his NIH-supported laboratory research focused on elaboration of his discovery in 1968 that the clonal descendants of tumor cells include genetically stable revertant cells, capable of growing into normal populations in turn.  Beginning in the late 1990s, after he had set aside lab work in order to write a series of books, he has been pleased to note that other laboratories have begun to apply his discovery to the development of novel forms of cancer chemotherapy.  As a result, his current ResearchGate score is 38.66.



B.A., Columbia College, Physics, 1961
Ph.D., Brandeis University, Biology, 1966



Selected Books

Pollack, Amy and Robert Pollack, 2014. 2nd edition, The course of Nature, in press. 1st edition, 2012, Stevens Inst. of Technology.

Pollack, R., with frontispiece by Amy Pollack, 2012. The 1999 Schoff Memorial Lectures, paperback edition: The Faith of Biology and the Biology of Faith. New york, Columbia University Press.

Pollack, R., with frontispiece by Amy Pollack, 1999. The Missing Moment: How the Unconscious Shapes Modern Science.  Boston, Houghton Mifflin.

Pollack, R.., with frontispiece by Amy Pollack, 1994.  Signs of Life: The Language and meaning of DNA.  Boston, Houghton Mifflin

Selected Articles

2014 Pollack, R., in press. Preface, Computation and Chemistry on the Quest for Life's Origin, ed. B. Damer, J. Seckbach and R. Gordon, Springer,

R. 2013 Pollack, R., in press.  The Embodied Self., Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.

2013 Pollack, R. Foreword, Our Journey to the End: Death, Dying and Bereavement in America, ed. C. Staudt. New York, Praeger

2010 Beale, N. and R. Pollack. The Great Commandment, Tao, and the Survival of Humanity. Union Sem. Quarterly Report.

2006 Pollack, R.. "The religious obligation to ask questions of Nature and the State." Tenth Dietrich Bonhoeffer Symposium, Berlin, April 30, 2005. Union Seminary Quarterly Report, 60.

1999 Pollack, R. "Wisdom versus knowledge: an agenda for a more humane medical science," FASEB J., 13: 1477-1480.

1990 Pollack, R. New York Times Op-Ed,
Get Moving on AIDS." September 30.

1981. Pollack, R., "From Theory to Praxis: Columbia can and should include science in the general education curriculum." Columbia College Today 8: 21-24.

1975 Pollack, R., M. Osborn and K. Weber.  Patterns of organization of Actin and Myosin in Normal and Transformed cells.  Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 72: 994-998.

1975 Shin, S., Freedman, V., Risser R., and Pollack, R. Tumorigenicity of virus-transformed cells in nude mice is correlated specifically with anchorage independent growth in vitro. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 72: 4435-4439.

1968 Pollack, R., H. Green, H., and G. Todaro. Growth control in cultured cells: Selection of sublines with increased sensitivity to contact inhibition and decreased tumor-producing ability. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 60: 126-133.

Awards and Honors

Professor Pollack has won an NIH Career Development award, the Alexander Hamilton Medal, the Lionel Trilling Award, the Gitelson-Meyerowitz Distinguished Service Award, the Geshom Mendel Seixas Award, and the Wisdom Medal.  He has been a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

He has given the Brockman Memorial Lecture at the University of Michigan, the Schoff Memorial Lectures of the University Seminars at Columbia, the Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities at The College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mendel Lecture at St. Peter's College, and the Bonhoeffer Lecture at Humboldt University in Berlin. 

He has also spoken in recent years to congregations at The Riverside church, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Union Theological seminary, All Souls Church, St. Barts, and Communion and Liberation.


Related Web Sites

Personal website:
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Research Gate profile
Robert Pollack