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Benjamin L. Miller, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Administrative: (585) 275-3871

Fax: (585) 273-1346

Office: (585) 275-9805

Research Labs



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.


Faculty Appointments


BS, Chemistry; B.A. Mathematics; B.A. German | Miami University

PhD | Stanford University
Organic Chemistry


Rochester Business Journal Health Care Achievement Award
Sponsor: Rochester Business Journal

2001 - 2006
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
Sponsor: Dreyfus Foundation

1998 - 2000
Research Corporation Research Innovation Award
Sponsor: Research Corporation

1994 - 1996
NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship
Sponsor: NIH
Location: Harvard University

1991 - 1993
W. R. Grace Graduate Fellow Award
Sponsor: W. R. Grace Corporation
Location: Stanford University

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Journal Articles

Baker JE, Sriram R, Miller BL. "Recognition-mediated particle detection under microfluidic flow with waveguide-coupled 2D photonic crystals: towards integrated photonic virus detectors." Lab on a chip.. 2017 Mar 30; Epub 2017 Mar 30.

Dutt S, Binney RJ, Heuer HW, Luong P, Attygalle S, Bhatt P, Marx GA, Elofson J, Tartaglia MC, Litvan I, McGinnis SM, Dickerson BC, Kornak J, Waltzman D, Voltarelli L, Schuff N, Rabinovici GD, Kramer JH, Jack CR, Miller BL, Rosen HJ, Boxer AL, . "Progression of brain atrophy in PSP and CBS over 6 months and 1 year." Neurology.. 2016 Nov 8; 87(19):2016-2025. Epub 2016 Oct 14.

McAnany JD, Reichert JP, Miller BL. "Probing the geometric constraints of RNA binding via dynamic covalent chemistry." Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry.. 2016 Sep 1; 24(17):3940-6. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Nanostructured Silicon Optical Sensors
Book Title: Optical Guided-wave Chemical and Biosensors II
Author List: Miller, B. L.
Edited By: Zourob, M.; Lakhtakia, A.
Published By: Springer-Verlag2010

Book Title: Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry
Author List: Miller, B. L. (Ed.)
Published By: Wiley & Sons2009

Chapter Title: Porous and Planar Silicon Technologies for Biomolecular Sensing
Book Title: Principles of Bacterial Detection: Biosensors, Recognition...
Author List: Mace, C. R.; Miller, B. L.
Edited By: Zourob, M.; Elwary, S.; Turner, A.
Published By: Springer-Verlag2008 in Berlin, Germany