Ian F. Pollack, MD

  • Distinguished Professor, Neurosurgery





Education & Training

MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1984)

Campus Address

4401 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15224

One-Line Research Description

Signal transduction pathways in glioma growth, molecular markers of glioma prognosis.

Ian Pollack, MD, is co-director of the Brain Tumor Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and A. Leland Albright Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh in 1992, he was awarded the 1991 Van Wagenen Traveling Fellowship, which afforded him a year of subspecialty training in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the Neuro-Oncology Laboratory of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and the Laboratory of Tumor Biology of the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Dr. Pollack graduated magna cum laude from Emory University in 1980, where he earned a BS degree in chemistry. He received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1984, then completed a surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He also was a research fellow in neuropathology and neurobiology during some of that time.

Pollack has published more than 340 papers in refereed journals, numerous book chapters and invited papers, and has edited two books on childhood brain tumors. He is co-editor of the book Principles and Practice of Pediatric Neurosurgery—currently in its third edition—and an accompanying atlas Operative Techniques In Pediatric Neurosurgery.

He is currently a principal investigator on numerous NIH grants focusing on novel therapies for brain tumors and evaluating molecular markers of tumor prognosis. Dr. Pollack was named vice chairman of academic affairs for the department in July of 2008.

He also chaired the Children’s Oncology Group CNS Tumor Committee from 1999-2009, and co-chaired the National Cancer Institute Brain Malignancy Steering Committee between 2010 and 2017.

Representative Publications

Premkumar DD, Jane EP, Thambireddy S, Sutera P, Cavaleri J, Pollack IF. Mitochondrial dysfunction, RAD51 and Ku80 proteolysis promotes apoptotic effects of Dinaciclib in Bcl-xL silenced cellsMolec Carcinogenesis 57:469-482, 2018.


Müller S, Agnihotri S, Shoger KE, Myers MI, Smith N, Chaparala S, Villanueva CR, Chattopadhyay A, Lee AV, Butterfield LH, Diaz A, Okada H, Pollack IF, Kohanbash G. Peptide vaccine immunotherapy biomarkers and response patterns in pediatric gliomasJCI Insight3(7):e98791, 2018.


Jakacki RI, Cohen KJ, Buxton A, Krailo MD, Burger PC, Rosenblum MK, Brat DJ, Hamilton RL, Eckel SP, Zhou T, Lavey RS, Pollack IF. Phase 2 study of concurrent radiotherapy and temozolomide followed by temozolomide and lomustine in the treatment of children with high-grade glioma: A report of the Children’s Oncology Group ACNS0423 studyNeuro-Oncology 18:1442-1450, 2016.


Pollack IF, Jakacki RI, Butterfield LH, Hamilton RL, Panigrahy A, Normolle DP, Connelly AK, Dibridge S, Mason G, Whiteside TL, Okada H.Immune responses and outcome after vaccination with glioma-associated antigen peptides and poly-ICLC in a pilot study for pediatric recurrent low-grade gliomasNeuro-Oncology 18:1157-1168, 2016.


Jane EP, Premkumar DR, Cavaleri JM, Sutera PA, Rajasekar T, Pollack I. Dinaciclib, a CDK inhibitor promotes proteasomal degradation of Mcl-1 and enhances ABT-737 mediated cell death in malignant human glioma cell linesJ Pharmacol Exp Ther 356(2):354-65, 2015.


Jakacki RI, Burger P, Kocak M, Boyett J, Goldwein J, Mehta M, Packer RJ, Tarbell N, Pollack IF. Outcome and prognostic factors for children with supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors (SPNET) treated with carboplatin during craniospinal radiotherapy: A report from the Children’s Oncology GroupPediatr Blood Cancer 62:776-783, 2015.


Pollack IF, Jakacki RI, Butterfield LH, Hamilton RL, Panigrahy A, Potter DM, Connelly AK, Dibridge SA, Whiteside TL, Okada H. Antigen-specific immune responses and clinical outcome after vaccination with glioma-associated antigen peptides and Polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid stabilized by lysine and carboxymethylcellulose in children with newly diagnosed malignant brainstem and nonbrainstem gliomas. J Clin Oncol 32:2050-2058, 2014. 


Ater JL, Zhou T, Holmes E, Mazewski CM, Booth TN, Freyer DR, Lazarus KH, Packer RJ, Prados M, Sposto R,Vezina G, Wisoff JH, Pollack IF.Randomized study of two chemotherapy regimens for treatment of low grade glioma in young children: A Children’s Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 30:2641-2647, 2012.


Pollack IF, Hamilton RL, Sobol RW, Nikiforova MN, Lyons-Weiler MA, LaFramboise WA, Burger PC, Brat DJ, Rosenblum MK, Holmes EJ, Zhou T, Jakacki RI. IDH1 mutations are common in malignant gliomas arising in adolescents: A report from the Children’s Oncology GroupChild’s Nerv Syst 27:87-94, 2011.


Jane EP, Premkumar D, Pollack IF. Bortezomib sensitizes malignant human glioma cells to TRAIL mediated by inhibition of the NF-ĸB signaling pathwayMolecular Cancer Ther 10:198-208, 2011.


Pollack IF, Stewart CF, Kocak M, Young-Poussaint T, Bronsicer A, Banerjee A, Douglas J, Kun LE, Boyett JM, Geyer JR. A phase II study of gefitinib and irradiation in children with newly diagnosed brain stem gliomas: A report from the Pediatric Brain Tumor ConsortiumNeuro-Oncology 13:290-297, 2011.


Thaker NG, McDonald PR, Zhang F, Shun TY, Lewen MD, Pollack IF, Lazo JS. Identification of survival genes in human glioblastoma cells using siRNA screeningMolec Pharm 76:1246-1255, 2009.


A complete list of Dr. Pollack's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.