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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address THT 952 Zip 0006
Phone  205-996-2096
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Professor
Secondary  OB/GYN   OB/GYN Chair Office Assistant Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Nutrition Sciences   Nutrition Obesity Res Ctr (NORC) Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cancer Biology 
Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology 
Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 
Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics 
Medical Scientist Training Program 

Biographical Sketch 
Michael A. Miller (b. 1971) received his Ph.D. in 1999 from the University of California at Irvine in the Department of Biological Chemistry. His postdoctoral training was done in David Greenstein’s lab at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology. He joined the UAB Department of Cell Biology in 2003, was appointed to Associate Professor with tenure in 2009 and then Professor in 2012.

Research/Clinical Interest
Function and evolution of intercellular communication mechanisms
The human body is estimated to contain over 10 trillion cells, all of which derive from a single fertilized egg. Developmental and physiological processes depend on secreted signaling molecules, which enable cells to coordinate their differentiation programs and activities. Aberrant regulation of cell signaling is the pathogenic basis for many types of cancer, inflammatory disease, neurological disease, and infertility. Studies of distantly related animals have demonstrated that evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways are used reiteratively during development and adulthood. The Caenorhabditis elegans adult gonad is an outstanding model to discover signaling mechanisms. The worm’s transparent epidermis makes the events leading to fertilization directly visible under a compound microscope. Sperm migration to the fertilization site, oocyte growth and meiotic progression, and gonadal muscle contraction are precisely coordinated to ensure fusion of oocyte and sperm. A fascinating array of fundamental biological processes exists in this small patch of worm tissue. The overarching theme of our research program is to delineate the signaling mechanisms coordinating these processes and to investigate their evolutionary origins. Our studies are providing insight into human reproduction, as well as diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and cancer. We are currently building multiple translational pipelines from the worm gonad to the hospital clinic, focusing on the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics for infertility and motor neuron disease. In the long term, the breadth of our basic science discoveries is likely to impact multiple human disorders. Constructing these pipelines involve collaborations among basic scientists and physicians, additional animal models such as Drosophila, zebrafish, and mice, as well as human patients.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
McKnight, K. M., Hoang, H. D., Prasain, J. K., Brown, N., Vibbert, J., Hollister, K. A., Moore, R., Ragains, J. R., Reese, J. R., and Miller, M. A. 2014. Neurosensory perception of environmental cues regulates sperm motility critical for fertilization. Science, 344:754-757. Evaluated in F1000. Editors’ Choice Science Signaling (20 May 2014 Vol. 7, Issue 326, p. ec133 DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005492).  24833393 
Han, S. M., El Oussini, H., Scekic-Zahirovic, J., Vibbert, J., Cottee, P., Prasain, J. K., Bellen, H., Dupuis, L., and Miller, M. A. 2013. VAPB/ALS8 MSP ligands regulate striated muscle energy metabolism critical for adult survival in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genetics, Sept 5. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003738.  24039594 
Hoang, H. D., Prasain, J. K., Dorand, D., and Miller, M. A. 2013. A heterogeneous mixture of F-series prostaglandins promotes sperm guidance in the Caenorhabditis elegans reproductive tract. PLOS Genetics, Jan 9(1):e1003271. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003271.  23382703 
Prasain, J. K., Hoang, H. D., Edmonds, J. K., and Miller, M. A. 2013. Prostaglandin extraction and analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Visualized Experiments, Jun 25;(76). doi: 10.3791/50447.  23851568 
Miller, M. A. and Chin-Sang, I. D. 2012. Eph receptor signaling in C. elegans. Wormbook, Nov 29:1-17. doi: 10.1895/wormbook.1.151.1.  23197476 
Han, S. M., Tsuda, H., Yang, Y., Vibbert, J., Cottee, P., Lee, S., Winek, J., Haueter, C., Bellen, H. J., and Miller, M. A. 2012. Secreted VAPB/ALS8 major sperm protein domains modulate mitochondrial localization and morphology via growth cone guidance receptors. Developmental Cell, 22:348-263. Cover article. Preview by Long and Van Vactor (pgs. 238-239). Featured in Birmingham News (front page), National Public Radio (WCUR Up to Date), New Scientist, and Alzheimer Research Forum. Evaluated in F1000.   22264801 
Edmonds, J. W., McKinney, S., Prasain, J. K., and Miller, M. A. (2011). The Gap Junctional Protein INX-14 Functions in Oocyte Precursors to Promote C. elegans Sperm Guidance. Developmental Biology, 359: 47-58.   21889935  
Edmonds, J. W., Prasain, J. K., Dorand, D., Yang, Y., Hoang, H., Vibbert, J., Kubagawa, H. M., and Miller, M. A. (2010). Insulin/FOXO Signaling Regulates Ovarian Prostaglandins Critical for Reproduction. Developmental Cell, 19:858-71. Reviewed by Faculty of 1000.  21145501 
Yang, Y., Han, S. M., and Miller, M. A. (2010). MSP Hormonal Control of the Oocyte MAP Kinase Cascade and Reactive Oxygen Species Signaling. Developmental Biology, 342:96-107.  20380830 
Han, S. M., Cottee, P., and Miller, M. A. (2010). Sperm and oocyte communication mechanisms controlling C. elegans fertility. Developmental Dynamics, 239:1265-81.  20034089  
Tsuda, H., Han, S. M., Yang, Y., Tong, C., Lin, Q. L., Mohan, K., Haueter, C., Zoghbi, A., Harati, Y., Kwan, J., Miller, M. A., and Bellen, H. J. (2008). The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis 8 protein VAPB is cleaved, secreted, and acts as a ligand for Eph receptors. Cell, 133:963-77. On the cover. Preview by Ackerman and Cox. Reviewed by Faculty of 1000.  18555774 
Kubagawa, H., Watts, J., Corrigan, C., Edmonds, J., Sztul, E., Browse, J., and Miller, M. A. (2006). Oocyte signals derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids control sperm recruitment in vivo. Nature Cell Biology, 8:1143-1148.  On the Cover. Featured in Nature Research Highlights, Oct. 12 issue.  16998478 
Whitten, S. and Miller, M. A. (2007). The role of gap junctions in Caenorhabditis elegans oocyte meiotic maturation and fertilization. Developmental Biology, 301:432-446.   16982048 
Corrigan, C., Subramanian, R., and Miller, M. A. (2005). Eph and NMDA receptors control Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II activation during C. elegans oocyte meiotic maturation. Development, 132: 5225-5237.  16267094 
Miller, M. A., Cutter, A. D., Yamamoto, I., Ward, S. and Greenstein, D. (2004). Clustered organization of reproductive genes in the C. elegans genome. Current Biology, 14: 1284-1290.  15268860 
Miller, M. A., Ruest, P., Kosinki, M., Hanks, S. and Greenstein, D. (2003). An Eph receptor sperm–sensing control mechanism for oocyte meiotic maturation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genes & Development, 17:187-200. On the Cover. Commentary by P. Kuwabara.  12533508 
Miller, M. A., Nguyen, V., Lee, M., Kosinski, M., Schedl, T., Caprioli, R. and Greenstein, D. (2001). A sperm cytoskeletal protein that signals oocyte meiotic maturation and ovulation. Science, 291:2144-2147. Perspectives by A. Villeneuve.  11251118 
Miller, M. A., Malik, I., Shenk, M., and Steele, R. E. (2000). The Src/Csk regulatory circuit arose early in metazoan evolution. Oncogene, 19: 3925-3930.  10951585 
Miller, M. A., Technau, U., Smith, K. and Steele, R. E. (2000). Oocyte development in Hydra involves selection from competent precursor cells. Developmental Biology, 224: 326-338.  10926770 
Miller, M. A. and Steele, R. E. (2000). Lemon encodes an unusual receptor protein-tyrosine kinase expressed during gametogenesis in Hydra. Developmental Biology, 224: 286-298.  10926767 

signal transduction, development, C. elegans, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, nervous system, energy metabolism