Benjamin L. Miller, Ph.D.

Benjamin L. Miller, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 697
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-9805
Lab: (585) 273-1566
Administrative: (585) 275-3871
Fax: (585) 273-1346

Research Bio

Research in the Miller group focuses on two fundamental areas: the control of biomolecular interactions through the synthesis of new small-molecule probes, and the observation of biomolecular interactions through the development of novel optical sensing technologies. In the area of control, we are particularly interested in the sequence-selective recognition of RNA. New RNA sequences with important functions in basic biology and human health and disease are being discovered at an ever-increasing rate, and yet our ability to target these sequences specifically is still at a rudimentary stage. To address this gap, we are applying techniques of molecular design and a novel combinatorial method of small-molecule evolution called Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry, which allows us to rapidly "prototype"

sequence-selective RNA binding molecules. Thus far we have used this methodology to RNA targets important in Myotonic Dystrophy and HIV. Protein-targeted small-molecule discovery projects are also of interest, and current projects include the mechanism of tight junction formation and the transport of beta-amyloid across the blood-brain barrier. To the end of achieving better methods of observing biomolecular interactions, our group has a longstanding program in the use of the optical properties of nanostructured materials as the basis for new biosensors and diagnostic tools. Two examples of current efforts include Arrayed Imaging Reflectometry (AIR) and sensors based on two-dimensional photonic crystals (2-D PhC). AIR relies on the creation of a near-perfect antireflection coating on the surface of a silicon chip; binding of a biomolecular target destroys this antireflective condition and is visible by a change in reflected light. This allows for highly multiplexed (10's to 1000's of targets) and quantitative detection. Photonic crystal sensors, on the other hand, offer the possibility of ultrasensitive detection: for example, a major long-term goal of our work is the production of sensors that can effectively detect one virus in a blood sample.

Awards & Honors (National)

Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award | Dreyfus Foundation 2001 - 2006
Research Corporation Research Innovation Award | Research Corporation 1998 - 2000
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship | NIH | Harvard University 1994 - 1996

Awards & Honors (Local)

Rochester Business Journal Health Care Achievement Award | Rochester Business Journal 2009
W. R. Grace Graduate Fellow Award | W. R. Grace Corporation | Stanford University 1991 - 1993

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 95 available »

2015 Feb 21
Baker JE, Sriram R, Miller BL. "Two-dimensional photonic crystals for sensitive microscale chemical and biochemical sensing." Lab on a chip. 2015 Feb 21; 15(4):971-90.
2014 Oct 1
Le NT, Takei Y, Izawa-Ishizawa Y, Heo KS, Lee H, Smrcka AV, Miller BL, Ko KA, Ture S, Morrell C, Fujiwara K, Akaike M, Abe JI. "Identification of activators of ERK5 transcriptional activity by high-throughput screening and the role of endothelial ERK5 in vasoprotective effects induced by statins and antimalarial agents." The Journal of immunology : official journal of the American Association of Immunologists. 2014 Oct 1; 193(7):3803-15. Epub 2014 Sep 03.
2014 Feb 13
Ofori LO, Hilimire TA, Bennett RP, Brown NW, Smith HC, Miller BL. "High-affinity recognition of HIV-1 frameshift-stimulating RNA alters frameshifting in vitro and interferes with HIV-1 infectivity." Journal of medicinal chemistry. 2014 Feb 13; 57(3):723-32. Epub 2014 Jan 15.
2014 Feb 1
Yadav AR, Sriram R, Carter JA, Miller BL. "Comparative study of solution-phase and vapor-phase deposition of aminosilanes on silicon dioxide surfaces." Materials science & engineering. C, Materials for biological applications. 2014 Feb 1; 35:283-90. Epub 2013 Nov 20.
2014 Jan 21
Lifson MA, Basu Roy D, Miller BL. "Enhancing the detection limit of nanoscale biosensors via topographically selective functionalization." Analytical chemistry. 2014 Jan 21; 86(2):1016-22. Epub 2013 Dec 27.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Dermatology (SMD) - Primary
Professor - Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics (SMD)


PhD | Organic Chemistry | Stanford University1994
BS, Chemistry; B.A. Mathematics; B.A. German | Miami University1988

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, Harvard University: Professor Stuart L. Schreiber, advisor. Design, synthesis, and evaluation of structure-based, nonpeptide combinatorial libraries for binding to Src homology 3 (SH3) domains. 1996