Dr. Duane Miller, Professor Emeritus, was recently selected as Top Professor Emeritus of the Year for 2024 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to academia.
Inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in itself; only a few members in each discipline are chosen for this distinction. These special honorees are distinguished based on their professional accomplishments, academic achievements, leadership abilities, longevity in the field, other affiliations, and contributions to their communities. All Honorees are invited to attend the IAOTP annual award gala during the year for a night to honor their achievements.
With more than two decades of exceptional experience in academics, Dr. Miller has certainly proven himself an expert in the field. As a results-driven leader, Dr. Miller has led an impressive repertoire of prior roles including but not limited to, serving as an NIH Fellow at the University of Washington, faculty member of Ohio State University, to Professor and Chairman of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology. Dr. Miller also held the position as Endowed Professor in The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy, located at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2001, he assumed the position of departmental head for the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
His areas of expertise have included but are not limited to research on anticancer drugs, the development of conformationally restricted analogs of ephedrine, insights into the steric interactions shown by imidazolines, catecholamines, and tetrahydroisoquinolines while interacting with adrenoceptors.
Dr. Miller has authored more than 480 papers and contributed to 16 book chapters. He has presented a total of 400 + times at conferences of both national and international scope. Additionally, he owns a significant number of patents and patent applications, totaling over 100. Dr. Miller's scholarly pursuits include the creation and manufacture of medicinal compounds. The individual has a specific inclination towards the development of pharmaceuticals for underrepresented geographical areas lacking in therapeutic options, as well as the innovation of medicines that minimize undesirable side effects. In 1998, the first nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) were discovered and documented by Dr. Miller and Dr. Jim Dalton, who now holds the position of Provost, The University of Alabama. GTx, a commercial entity that first obtained the licensing rights for selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) and carried out clinical investigations with these compounds. The medications under investigation were examined for their possible use in cancer patients experiencing muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) provide the advantageous characteristic of oral bioavailability and exhibit a comparatively lower incidence of side effects, notably less hepatotoxicity, in contrast to traditional anabolic substances used for muscle development. These pharmaceutical substances have the potential to be beneficial in the management of reduced testosterone levels in elderly males, a condition often referred to as ADAM (androgen decline in aging males) or andropause. The selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) were subjected to a series of human clinical studies, including Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III, to evaluate their efficacy in managing cachexia among individuals with cancer. It is important to note that despite these trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not provide authorization for their use.. Novel selective androgen receptor degraders (SARDs) were identified in a collaborative effort with Dr. Ramesh Narayanan. These SARDs exhibit the ability to effectively degrade the androgen receptor, hence offering potential therapeutic benefits in the management of castration-resistant cancer (CRPC). One of these drugs is under clinical testing for treatment of CRPC. These subsequent drugs are designed to aid individuals in situations when conventional androgen receptor antagonists have proven ineffective in the treatment of prostate cancer. Selective androgen receptor covalent antagonists (SARCAs) have been recently found by Drs. Miller and Narayanan. These compounds show potential for use in the therapeutic management of prostate cancer. In addition, he has engaged in collaborative efforts with Dr. Gabor Tigyi on the development of radiation mitigators, which have subsequently been licensed to RxBio. Similarly, he has worked with Dr. Ryan Yates in the creation of anti-inflammatory drugs, which have also been licensed to RxBio. The collaborative efforts of Dr. Miller and Dr. Elden Geisert led to significant advancements in the field of brain cancer therapies, culminating in the identification of chemicals that have been licensed by RxBio.
Before embarking on his career path, Dr. Miller was born in 1943 on a farm in Larned, Kansas. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas in 1966 and obtained his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington.
Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Duane Miller has received many awards and accolades and has been recognized worldwide for his accomplishments. To name a few, Dr. Miller has received the University of Tennessee National Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award (1994) in his academic career. In 1995, 2001, and 2005, he received the Student Government Association Executive Council (SGAEC) Excellence in Teaching Award for his teaching at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's College of Pharmacy. He was named the University of Tennessee Pharmacy Class Teacher of the Year in 2006. He has advised 29 graduate students and 35 postdoctoral fellows. He was named to Who’s Who in 2023. This year, he will be featured in TIP (Top Industry Professionals) Magazine. He will be honored at IAOTP's annual awards gala at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for his selection as Top Professor Emeritus of the Year 2024.
In addition to his successful career, in 1990, Dr. Miller was honored with the title of Fellow by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). In recognition of his contributions to the understanding of the structural and stereochemical requirements of adrenergic medications in their interactions with the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous systems, he was honored as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001. In 2008, the University of Washington College of Pharmacy bestowed upon him the prestigious title of "Alumni of the Year." The American Chemical Society's Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award was bestowed to him in June 2008 at the National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. The Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award is bestowed every two years in the United States to a scientist or a collective of scientists who have made noteworthy contributions to the field of medicinal chemistry through their research endeavors, mentorship activities, and service to the discipline. He was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the American Chemical Society at the National American Chemical Society Meeting held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in August 2008. The recipient was honored with the Volwiler Research Achievement Award for pharmaceutical science research by the National American Association Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) in 2009. He was granted admission to the National Academy of Inventors in 2015 at the California Institute of Technology, located in Pasadena, California. In 2019, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation acknowledged his achievement as the individual with the highest number of United States patents, totaling 100. In 2015, Dr. Miller concluded his professional career and was bestowed with the honorary title of Professor Emeritus. Presently, he continues doing research with the aid of external funding, focusing on the development, manufacturing, and examination of innovative pharmaceuticals intended for the treatment of cancer. At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, he is engaged in the active pursuit of patenting and publishing innovative pharmaceuticals for several types of cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and glioma (a kind of brain cancer). This collaborative effort involves esteemed researchers such as Drs. Ramesh Narayanan, Wei Li, and Lawrence Pfeffer. The collaboration between Dr. Wei Li and Dr. Miller has spanned more than a decade, focusing on the development of tubulin inhibitors. One of the outcomes of their collaboration is the creation of Sabizabulin, a pharmaceutical compound that has been licensed by Veru. Currently, Sabizabulin is undergoing Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer that is resistant to conventional therapies. Additionally, it is also being investigated for its potential efficacy in managing respiratory distress syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 in adult patients. His latest NIH grant is with Dr. Lawrence Pfeffer, in the Medical School, on finding therapeutic enhancing drugs (TEDs) for treating glioblastoma.
The President of the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP), Stephanie Cirami, stated: "Choosing Dr. Duane Miller for this honor was an easy decision for our panel to make. Dr. Miller is inspirational, influential, and a true visionary and thought leader. We cannot wait to meet him and celebrate his accomplishments at next year's gala."
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