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Pollock, Martin Rivers, 1914-1999 (professor of biology, University of Edinburgh)



Martin Rivers Pollock was born on 10 December 1914, the son of Hamilton Rivers Pollock and Eveline Morton Pollock. He attended Winchester College before gaining a place at Trinity College Cambridge in 1933 (Senior Scholarship 1936). At Cambridge he studied Medicine (pre-clinical), moving to University College Hospital Medical School, London to complete his medical training in 1937-1939. He qualified M.B., B.Chir. in 1940.

Pollock held hospital appointments at University College Hospital and Brompton Chest Hospital 1939-1941 before joining the Emergency Public Health Laboratory Service as a Bacteriologist in 1941. In 1943 he was seconded to a Medical Research Council unit to work on infective hepatitis. In 1945 Pollock was formally taken onto the staff of the Medical Research Council. He worked at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Mill Hill, London, initially under Sir Paul Fildes before being appointed Head of the Division of Bacterial Physiology in 1949. He remained at the NIMR to 1965, spending two periods (1948 and 1952-1953) studying in the laboratory of Jacques Monod at the Institut Pasteur, Paris. Pollock had for some years being considering the possibility of establishing a unit for teaching and research in molecular biology, which would bring together bacterial genetics and biochemistry, and a number of possible locations had been evaluated. M.M. Swann, the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Edinburgh, persuaded Pollock to move north and in 1965 Pollock was appointed Professor of Biology at Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards, his colleague William Hayes moved from the MRC Unit for Bacterial Genetics at Hammersmith Hospital London. Together they established at Edinburgh the Department of Molecular Biology, the first such teaching department in the world. Pollock took early retirement in 1976, moving to Dorset. He took no further active part in scientific research but maintained his growing interest in the relationship between science and art, organising a major conference on the subject in 1981. He died in December 1999. Pollock's thirty years of scientific research from the end of the Second World War, both at the NIMR and Edinburgh University, focused on enzyme induction in bacteria. He studied the mechanism by which beta-lactamase enzymes (particularly penicillinase) are involved in the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. For his contributions in this area Pollock was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1962. In the 1970s Pollock became interested in developments in biotechnology and artificial intelligence, encouraging interdepartmental cooperation in these areas.

Found in 347 Collections and/or Records:

Correspondence, chiefly regarding F. Griffith, January 1970

Identifier: Coll-1586/F/1/F.67
Scope and Contents

The material consists of correspondence with Martin Rivers Pollock, mainly relating to British microbiologist, Frederick Griffith (1877-1941), dated January 1970.

Dates: January 1970

Correspondence chiefly with J. Lederberg, 1972

Identifier: Coll-1586/F/1/F.71
Scope and Contents

Correspondence chiefly between Martin Rivers Pollock with J. Lederberg. dated 1972. It is mainly regarding the work of Griffith in the 1940s,

Dates: 1972

Correspondence, chiefly with R. Olby arising from the lecture following its publication, April 1971-November 1971

Identifier: Coll-1586/F/1/F.70
Scope and Contents

The material consists of correspondence chiefly between R. Olby and Martin Rivers Pollock arising from his lecture 'The History of DNA' following its publication, dated April 1971-November 1971.

Dates: April 1971-November 1971

Correspondence, including letters from E. Chargaff and S.D. Elliott, February 1970-June 1970

Identifier: Coll-1586/F/1/F.68
Scope and Contents

Correspondence with Martin Rivers Pollock, including letters from E. Chargaff regarding DNA and S.D. Elliott regarding Frederick Griffith, dated Febrary 1970-June 1970.

Dates: February 1970-June 1970

Correspondence, including with J. Lederberg, 1973

Identifier: Coll-1586/F/1/F.72
Scope and Contents

Correspondence from Martin Rivers Pollock including with J. Lederberg. It is regarding the work of F. Griffith, R. Olby and P.B. Medawar.

Dates: 1973

Correspondence re. commission of article and with N. Citri re. content of the article, 1963-1965

Identifier: Coll-1586/E/1/E.15
Scope and Contents

The material consists of correspondence by Martin Rivers Pollock re. commission of article and with N. Citri re. content of the article, 'The biochemistry and function of penicillinase' with N. Citri, Advances in Enzmology (1966), vol 28.

Dates: 1963-1965

Correspondence re. first affidavit, September 1972-November 1972

Identifier: Coll-1586/D/3/D.57
Scope and Contents

The material consists of correspondence re. first affidavit, dated September 1972-November 1972.

Dates: September 1972-November 1972

Correspondence re. second affidavit, November 1972-April 1973

Identifier: Coll-1586/D/3/D.58
Scope and Content

The material consists of correspondence re. second affidavit, dated November 1972-April 1973. It includes copy of affidavit.

Dates: November 1972-April 1973

Correspondence regarding appointment, April 1964-June1964

Identifier: Coll-1586/C/2/C.7
Scope and Contents

The material consists of correspondence of Martin Rivers Pollock relating to an appointmentm, dated April-1964-June 1964. It includes correspondence with Sir Edward Appleton, Vice-Chancellor regarding resources being made available.

Dates: April 1964-June1964

Correspondence regarding appointment, 1965

Identifier: Coll-1586/C/2/C.8
Scope and Content

Includes manuscript notes for Pollock's [possibly farewell] speech at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) expressing his hopes for the move to Edinburgh.

Dates: 1965

Additional filters:

Archival Object 346
Collection 1
Lectures and Lecturing 109
Correspondence 98
Biology 27
Penicillin 17
Santiago (Chile) 6