Dr. Duane Miller Named to the National Academy of Inventors

Dr. Duane Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UTHSC College of Pharmacy, has been named to the National Academy of Inventors.Dr. Duane Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the UTHSC College of Pharmacy, has been named to the National Academy of Inventors.

Duane Miller, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He will be inducted on March 20 during the organization’s fourth annual conference at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The honor is given to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development or the welfare of society. Those elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and are nominated by their peers.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” Dr. Miller said. “I never thought I’d be in the Academy.”

Dr. Miller, who was nominated by the UT Research Foundation, has collaborated on a number of successful research efforts since he joined the UTHSC faculty in 1992. They have resulted in patents for SARMS (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) for treating some cancers; radiation mitigators now under development; and tubulin inhibitors or targeted therapies for resistant cancers. Dr. Miller estimates that he and his collaborators have roughly 400 patents or patents pending for synthetic medicinal structures to attack diseases.

“We’re trying to design drugs for the future,” Dr. Miller said. “That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Dr. Miller said he originally wanted to be a sports coach, but was inspired to become a pharmacist after a hometown pharmacist helped when his father was diagnosed with emphysema. A semester of work in a lab during pharmacy school at the University of Kansas cemented his career choice. “Once I got into the lab, it got me thinking in a totally different way,” Dr. Miller said. “I started thinking about how to design drugs.”

The 414 NAI Fellows represent more than 150 prestigious research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions. Included among NAI Fellows are 61 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and nonprofit research institutes, 208 members of other national academies, 21 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 16 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation, 10 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Science and 21 Nobel Laureates.