Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Applied Science, McCormick School of Engineering; Director of Master of Biotechnology Program, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Dr. Miller's research has focused on how the culture environment (pH, pO2, osmolality, lipids, surfaces, etc.) impacts cell growth, differentiation, and protein production and quality. His recent research has focused on the production of high-ploidy megakaryocytic cells and platelets for potential applications in cell therapy and platelet transfusions, as well as the mechanisms by which nicotinamide increases megakaryocytic cell ploidy. Dr. Miller's group also investigates the signal transduction pathways involved in granulocytic and erythroid cell differentiation and, especially, megakaryocytic cell differentiation and polyploidization. They take inspiration from the hematopoietic stem cell niche to develop culture conditions for stem and progenitor cell expansion and controlled differentiation into diverse hematopoietic lineages. They extensively use flow cytometry for phenotypic characterization via cell surface marker expression; cell cycle analysis; assessment of viability, apoptosis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) content; as well as signal transduction and functional activity. Earlier research in the Miller lab investigated the effects of dietary lipids on the growth and metabolism of breast cancer cell lines and employed NMR to evaluate nucleotide sugar metabolism in small cell lung cancer cells. the Miller lab has also extensively evaluated the effects of the culture environment on the production of model biotherapeutic proteins including monoclonal antibodies. Hematopoietic cells produced in culture have the potential to ameliorate chemotherapy-induced cytopenias, as well as to induce tolerance in recipients of organ transplants from the same donors. A better understanding of normal hematopoietic cell differentiation may also contribute to the treatment of abnormal differentiation in myeloid leukemias. Finally, the Miller lab is also developing bioreactor systems to support the recellularization of decellularized organs with the aim of augmenting the supply of organs for liver and kidney transplantation.
Office: Tech E248
Email: wmmiller [at] northwestern [dot] edu