Duane D. Miller, Ph.D.

Duane D. Miller, Ph.D.

Van Vleet Professor and Chair

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
227c Johnson Building
847 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
Tel: (901) 448-6026
Fax: (901) 448-6828
Email: Duane D. Miller


  • Ph.D. Institution: University of Washington, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Research Interests

The design, synthesis and characterization of new drug molecules for mechanism based structure-activity relationships is the primary focus of our laboratory. One of the important areas of research is studying new drugs affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems. Our laboratory is very interested in the design of drugs that are used to treat asthma, emphysema and obesity. Other areas of keen interest are drugs used to treat and diagnose prostate cancer and diabetic complications.

We are currently investigating the modification of a molecule called trimetoquinol which is used in Japan. We are attempting to make chemical structural changes in the molecule so that it can be used to activate selectively beta 2-adrenergic receptors found in lung tissue. We are also attempting to make changes that will also convert this same molecule into a beta 3-adrenergic receptor agonist for the treatment of obesity. The latter receptors are found in adipose tissue and upon activation lead to the breakdown of fat. We are also in the process of studying medetomidine, an alpha-adrenergic agonist. We are changing the structure of medetomidine chemically to see if such changes can lead to a better understanding of how this molecule binds to the various subtypes of a- adrenergic receptors.

We are very interested in drugs that could interfere with the craving for cocaine. We are now synthesizing drugs that will block specific glutamate receptors found in the brain and hopefully such new information will help us find an agent that will be useful in treating cocaine addiction.

Drugs that bind to androgen receptors and their relationship to prostate cancer are being studied in our laboratory. A major project is directed toward synthesizing new radiolabeled androgen ligands and we plan to use this technology towards imaging metastatic prostate cancer.

A major enzyme in the development of diabetic complications such as cataracts is thought to be the enzyme aldose reductase. Our laboratory has developed irreversible inhibitors for studying this enzyme.

Representative Publications

  • Knowlden SA, Hillman SE, Chapman TJ, Patil R, Miller DD, Tigyi G, Georas SN. Novel Inhibitory Effect of an LPA(2) Agonist on Allergen-driven Airway Inflammation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2015 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26248018.
  • Ness RA, Miller DD, Li W. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. Chin J Nat Med. 2015 Jul;13(7):481-97. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30043-1. PubMed PMID: 26233839.
  • Xiao M, Wang J, Lin Z, Lu Y, Li Z, White SW, Miller DD, Li W. Design, Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationship Studies of Novel Survivin Inhibitors with Potent Anti-Proliferative Properties. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 12;10(6):e0129807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129807. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26070194; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4466525.
  • Balogh A, Shimizu Y, Lee SC, Norman DD, Gangwar R, Bavaria M, Moon C, Shukla P, Rao R, Ray R, Naren AP, Banerje S, Miller DD, Balazs L, Pelus L, Tigyi G. The autotaxin-LPA2 GPCR axis is modulated by γ-irradiation and facilitates DNA damage repair. Cell Signal. 2015 Sep;27(9):1751-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2015.05.015. Epub 2015 May 28. PubMed PMID: 26027517; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4514920.
  • Deng W, Kimura Y, Gududuru V, Wu W, Balogh A, Szabo E, Thompson KE, Yates CR, Balazs L, Johnson LR, Miller DD, Strobos J, McCool WS, Tigyi GJ. Mitigation of the hematopoietic and gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome by octadecenyl thiophosphate, a small molecule mimic of lysophosphatidic acid. Radiat Res. 2015 Apr;183(4):465-75. doi: 10.1667/RR13830.1. Epub 2015 Mar 25. PubMed PMID: 25807318; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4428663.
  • Patil R, Szabó E, Fells JI, Balogh A, Lim KG, Fujiwara Y, Norman DD, Lee SC, Balazs L, Thomas F, Patil S, Emmons-Thompson K, Boler A, Strobos J, McCool SW, Yates CR, Stabenow J, Byrne GI, Miller DD, Tigyi GJ. Combined mitigation of the gastrointestinal and hematopoietic acute radiation syndromes by an LPA2 receptor-specific nonlipid agonist. Chem Biol. 2015 Feb 19;22(2):206-16. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2014.12.009. Epub 2015 Jan 22. PubMed PMID: 25619933; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4336611.

View more references (pubmed link)