Duane D. Miller, PhD, Van Vleet Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee, recently retired. Dr. Miller joined the College of Pharmacy faculty in 1992 and leaves a tremendous legacy of research, teaching, and service.
Dr. Miller said of his time at the College of Pharmacy, “I have really enjoyed the teaching, research, service, and the relationships and friends that I have made with the students, staff, and faculty. The research collaborators with which I have interacted at the University have made our research studies most enjoyable.” Dr. Miller plans to continue some research at the College and is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
Duane began his academic career at The Ohio State University where he rose to become chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, a position which he held for 10 years. In 1992, he moved to the University of Tennessee at Memphis as the Van Vleet Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and in 2001 Duane was appointed Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in the College of Pharmacy. He has held leadership positions in the American Chemical Society, the American Association of Pharmaceutical Science, and the American Association Colleges of Pharmacy. In 2009 Duane was inducted into the American Chemical Society’s Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame, and in 2014 he was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
“It has been a privilege for UTRF to work with Dr. Miller all these years, and everyone at UTRF wishes him a joyous retirement.”
Duane’s research contributions are plentiful, as evidenced by the raw numbers: 370 published articles, 322 patent applications, 54 issued US patents, 18 book chapters, 89 funded grants, and many students and postdocs impacted by his teaching and mentorship. A continuing legacy of Duane’s drug discovery and development efforts is seen in the commercial entities which are developing novel drugs based on his discoveries. Duane himself co-founded two startup companies, ED Labs and RxBio, which are both still developing the drugs that Duane designed in the field of brain cancer and radiation countermeasures. A third company, GTx Inc. in Memphis, in-licensed a series of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMS) that Duane discovered, and over the past decade has lead clinical trials for the use of SARMS in treating a range of cancers and muscle-related diseases.
Through his wide-ranging collaborations, Dr. Miller has also developed novel compounds with the potential to treat hemorrhagic shock, cancer, diabetic retinopathy, polycystic kidney disease that UTRF will continue to support for many years to come. As valuable as the specific discoveries which Duane has made, UTRF is equally grateful to Duane for his public and visible embrace of innovation and commercialization as a part of the academic research mission. Following Duane’s lead, the faculty, postdocs, and students in his department enthusiastically embrace technology transfer and have consistently maintained invention disclosure rates among the highest of any department at UT.