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

  • 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 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25807318.
  • 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.
  • Hosni-Ahmed A, Sims M, Jones TS, Patil R, Patil S, Abdelsamed H, Yates CR, Miller DD, Pfeffer LM. EDL-360: A Potential Novel Antiglioma Agent. J Cancer Sci Ther. 2014 Sep 25;6(9):370-377. PubMed PMID: 25574358; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4285352.
  • McMillan JE, Bukiya AN, Terrell CL, Patil SA, Miller DD, Dopico AM, Parrill AL. Multi-generational pharmacophore modeling for ligands to the cholane steroid-recognition site in the β₁ modulatory subunit of the BKCa channel. J Mol Graph Model. 2014 Nov;54:174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jmgm.2014.10.008. Epub 2014 Oct 24. PubMed PMID: 25459769; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4268273.
  • Patil SA, Pfeffer SR, Seibel WL, Pfeffer LM, Miller DD. Identification of Imidazoquinoline Derivatives as Potent Antiglioma Agents. Med Chem. 2014 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25219925.
  • Lee SC, Fujiwara Y, Liu J, Yue J, Shimizu Y, Norman DD, Wang Y, Tsukahara R, Szabo E, Patil R, Banerjee S, Miller DD, Balazs L, Ghosh MC, Waters CM, Oravecz T, Tigyi GJ. Autotaxin and LPA1 and LPA5 receptors exert disparate functions in tumor cells versus the host tissue microenvironment in melanoma invasion and metastasis. Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Jan;13(1):174-85. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-14-0263. Epub 2014 Aug 26. PubMed PMID: 25158955; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4297753.

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