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Dr. Keith Miller
Dr. Keith Miller

Dr. Keith Miller

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Chemistry

I am excited each year to be part of developing the next generation of successful professionals inside and outside of the classroom as I learn just as much if not more from them as they learn from me.

Teaching Style in the Classroom

In science, the ability to be excited continually about the surrounding world is of utmost importance.  In the classroom, I use my enthusiasm for learning to provide a constructive learning environment that allows students to develop critical thinking/problem solving skills and to nurture lifelong learning habits.

As in most disciplines, the ability not only to memorize certain facts is important but to use those ideas in unique ways and apply them to unsolved problems is the path forward. Science does not exist or continue to grow if not for curiosity. Hypothesis-generated research is required to advance our understanding of the universe.  As an instructor and mentor for the future generation, it is my primary goal to spark that interest, to show the connections between the mundane and abstract to the real and pertinent aspects of daily life. 

One of the best ways I have found to improve a student’s critical thinking and reasoning is emphasis on reading, comprehending, and critiquing primary literature. Students gain a wide range of experience with reading scientific journals, applying their knowledge to unsolved problems, and critiquing experimental designs. These skills provide the students with the tools necessary for their future careers and the use of their imagination to ask the question, “what if…?”

Regularly Taught Courses

Specific courses I teach in the biochemistry/chemistry curriculum include CHE 120N Concepts in Chemistry (General Chemistry II) lecture and laboratory, CHE 370 Introduction to Biochemistry, CHE 374 Medicinal Chemistry, and CHE 476 Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory. I also teach in the honors program for their first-year seminar courses including HON 110 First Year Seminar Introduction to Boardgame Design.  In this course, students are introduced to college and learn the fundamentals of boardgame design starting with game mechanisms and finally, designing and playtesting a boardgame of their own.

Interdisciplinary Research

My main research focus is on cancer immunotherapy and tissue engineering.  This requires not only understanding biochemistry, cellular biology, and immunology, but also applying pharmaceutical drug design to create innovative therapies for future treatment. My research laboratory has several ongoing student-led projects. I am a biochemist by training and am interested in the interface of biochemistry, pharmaceutical drug design, and immunology. In my research, my students and I develop formulations of liposomes that can effectively target various immune cells including macrophages and neutrophils for either activation or deactivation. The chemical composition, liposome size, charge, and targeting groups on a liposome all aid or hinder its efficient drug delivery. 

Engaging with Fellow Biochemist Alumni

It is very rewarding to see the development and growth of my students from their first semester to their last.  Specifically, in CHE 370 Introduction to Biochemistry, there is tremendous student growth in understanding and critical thinking.  When a student’s perspective is forever changed how they see science and the molecular world, I know I have succeeded.  I also enjoy hearing from alumni about their triumphs, career progressions, and contributions to medicine, science, engineering, pharmaceutical sales, biotechnology, ect.

A Welcoming Department

All the professors in the department have individual research projects that I encourage students to participate in.  Students can rotate through laboratories to gain experience in research on Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, development of novel antibiotics or drugs for stroke treatment, metal toxicity, and solar cells batteries. For the research students, we also have regular research journal clubs, where students and faculty engage in primary literature reading, critiquing, and discussing the latest scientific findings. Finally, stop by our offices.  We all have an open-door policy. If the door is open, come on into chat!


 Miller, K.R. A Tale of Two Semesters: Flipped biochemistry curriculum in the time of COVID.  The FASEB journal, 2022, 36: S1.

 Frontz, A.; Demp, J.; Miller, K.R. Enhanced gold nanoparticle aggregation with cancer clel DNA for improved radiation therapy and immune response in cancer treatment.  The FASEB journal, 2022, 36, S1.

 Turley, S. and Miller, K.R. The Effects of Acidic pH on Macrophage Phagocytosis and Tumor Lysate Response.  The FASEB journal, 2021, 35: S1.

 Miller, K.R. and Boyd-Kimball, D. Learning focus: Scaffolded primary literature curriculum for improved student skills. The FASEB journal, 2020, 34:1-1.

 EDITOR Miller, K.R. (acknowledgements) Maher, S.; Mahmoud, M.; Rizk, M.; Kalil, H. Synthetic melanin nanoparticles as peroxynitrite scavengers, photothermal anticancer and heavy metals removal platforms.  Sci. Pollut. Res. Int., 2020, 27(16):19115-19126.

 Miller, K.R. Improving student/faculty engagement:  impact of end of lecture classroom surveys on student evaluations and motivation.  The FASEB journal, 2018, 32:663.27.

 Engelhart, M.; Zhang, J.; Gotschall, J.; Huffman, D.; Miller, K.R. The effects of Menkes Syndrome on the immune system.  The FASEB journal, 2018, 32:806.9.

 Mason, T.; Tamulonis, E.; Miller, K.R. Targeting specificity of liposomes coated with isolated membranes from cancer and macrophage cell lines.  The FASEB journal, 2018, 32:807.10.

 Ross, P; Nemec, P.S.; Kapatos, A.; Miller, K.R.; Holmes, J.C.; Suter, S.E.; Buntzman, A.S.; Soderblom, E.J.; Collins, E.J.; Hess, P.R. The canine MHC class Ia allele DLA-88*508:01 presents diverse self- and canine distemper virus-origin peptides of varying length that have a conserved binding motif.  Immunol. Immunopathol. 2018, 197:  76-86.

 Boyd-Kimball, D. and Miller, K.R. From Cookbook to Research:  Redesigning an Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory.  Chem. Educ.  2018, 95(1):  62-67.

 Miller, K.R. Making Connections:  Impact of primary literature assignments on lecture and laboratory learning.  The FASEB journal, 2017, 31:751.7.

 Martin, A.; Gojanovich, G.; Clark, M.; Manzoor, F.; Miller, K.R.; Kline, D.; Morillon, M.; Wang, G.; Tisch, R. Anti-coreceptor therapy drives tissue-specific T cell egress by suppressing inflammation-dependent chemotactic cues.  JCI Insight. 2016, 1(17): e87636.

 Miller, K.R. Teaching Matters: Undergraduate grant writing curriculum.  The FASEB journal, 2016, 30:662.7.

 Miller, K.R.; Koide, A.; Leung, B.; Johnson, M.C.; Tisch, R.; Sidhu, S.S.; Koide, S.; Collins, E.J. Targeting peptide bound to major histocompatibility complex allows visualization of insulin secreting beta cells in vivo.  The FASEB journal, 2016, 30: 1098.2.

 Hess, S.M.; Young, E.F.; Miller, K.R.; Vincent B.G.; Buntzman, A.S.; Collins, E.J.; Frelinger, J.A.; Hess, P.R. Deletion of naïve T cells recognizing the minor histocompatibility antigen HY with toxin-coupled peptide-MHC class I tetramers inhibits cognate CTL responses and alters immunodominance.  Immunol. 2013 29(1-4):  138-145.

 Park, MS.; Park S.Y.; Miller, K.R.; Collins E.J.; Less H.Y. Accurate structure prediction of peptide/MHC complexes for identifying highly immunogenic antigens.  Immunol.  2013 56 (1-2):  81-90.

 Miller, K.R.; Koide, A.; Leung, B.; Fitzsimmons, J.; Yoder, B.; Yuan, H.; Jay, M.; Sidhu, S.; Koide, S.; Collins, E.J. T cell receptor-like recognition of tumor in vivo by synthetic antibody fragment. PLoS One. 2012 7(8): e43746.

 Carroll, M.J.; Gromova, A.V.; Miller, K.R.; Tang, H.; Wang, X.S.; Tripathy, A.; Singleton, S.F.; Collins, E.J.; Lee, A.L. Direct detection of structurally resolved dynamics in a multiconformation receptor-ligand complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011 133(16): 6422-8

 Jain, A.; Yan, W.; Miller, K.R.; O’Carra, R.; Woodward, J.G.; Mumper, R.J. Tresyl-based conjugation of protein antigen to lipid nanoparticles increases antigen immunogenicity. Int. J. Pharm. 2010 401(1-2): 87-92.