Dr. Matthew Miller joined the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical sciences 3 years ago – returning to Ontario after completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Peter Palese at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY. During his time in the Palese Laboratory, Dr. Miller was involved in the discovery and characterization of broadly-neutralizing antibodies that target influenza virus. This work helped inform the development of a “universal” influenza virus vaccine by the Palese laboratory that is now in clinical development. Dr. Miller’s doctoral work was performed at the University of Western Ontario, where he investigated mechanisms of DNA virus entry, gene regulation and egress.
The Miller laboratory has grown substantially since its inception 3 years ago, and is currently home to 10 talented staff and students. They are affiliated with both the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research and the McMaster Immunology Research Centre. The Miller laboratory is interested in diverse aspects of virus/host interactions and immunology. Currently, the lab is focused on 3 major areas: understanding the basis of broad/universal immunity against influenza virus, characterizing the impact of prior influenza virus exposures on flu-related mortality trends and, defining the role of viral infections in the onset/progression of ALS. Projects in these areas stretch from basic discovery to the development of therapeutics. The laboratory is proudly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Government of Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, the Lung Association/Ontario Thoracic Society, the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research and the Boris Family Fund for Health Research Excellence.
Dr. Miller and members of his laboratory shared their exciting results at several major conferences this year, including the Canadian Society for Immunology Annual Meeting in Banff, Alberta; the ALS Canada Research Forum in Toronto, Ontario; the American Society for Virology Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin; and the Centres for Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Making the most of the Ontario summer, the lab also recently ventured away from their benches to enjoy summer BBQs at Dundas Driving Park and the Christie Conservation Area with their colleagues in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, and in MIRC.
This month, Dr. Miller will be traveling to Riga, Latvia to speak at the 6th European Scientific Working Group on Influenza Conference. At the end of the month, he and his fiancée, Dr. Caitlin Mullarkey, an Assistant Professor in the BHSc program will be tying the knot here in Hamilton! They plan to travel to Costa Rica for their honeymoon to relax with nature and enjoy some time “off of the grid.”