The award recognizes active, long-term AAI members who have distinguished careers and outstanding scientific contributions in immunology, have demonstrated exceptional leadership to the immunology community and are academic leaders in their field.
“It is a distinct honor to be selected as an AAI 2022 Distinguished Fellow, especially as it recognizes outstanding scientific contributions over a career as well as service to the immunology community. In the past, this award has been bestowed on distinguished leaders in our field,” said Miller, who is also a professor of Dermatology and of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Miller studies the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and regulation of immune diseases, notably T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases and the rejection of tissue and organ transplants.
In 2021, Miller received the Technology Innovation and Development Award from the Society for Biomaterials, for creating biodegradable nanoparticles that induce gluten tolerance in patients with celiac disease. The platform, detailed in a study published in the journal Gastroenterology, could be a promising and long-anticipated treatment for celiac disease and other autoimmune and allergic diseases.
The nanoparticles have also been used in the context of brain injury, specifically to reduce brain swelling and damage after a traumatic brain injury by injecting the nanoparticles into a patient’s bloodstream within two hours after injury. The therapy has the potential to revolutionize the field of emergency medicine by allowing emergency medicine professionals to administer the therapy to patients and prevent secondary damage, according to Miller. The study, published in Annals of Neurology, was a collaboration between Miller and Jack Kessler, MD, the Ken and Ruth Davee Professor of Stem Cell Biology.
Miller has also made significant contributions to multiple sclerosis treatment, having demonstrated that these nanoparticles can help rebuild nerves damaged by introducing myelin — fatty tissue surrounding nerve cells — to the immune system to reduce its reactivity to it.
Miller earned his doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology in 1975 from Pennsylvania State University and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in cellular immunology at the University of Colorado in 1978.
In 1981, Miller joined the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is currently the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology. Over the course of his career spanning over four decades, he has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
“Steve Miller is an outstanding scientist who is richly deserving of this award. He has had a long-standing interest in immune tolerance which has led to development of treatments for celiac disease, as well as potentially diabetes and multiple sclerosis. These are important contributions that will have significant impact on treating these diseases,” said Laimonis A Laimins, PhD, chair and the Guy and Anne Youmans Professor of Microbiology-Immunology.
Miller will be honored at the AAI’s 2022 annual meeting in May.
Miller, Kessler and Laimins are members of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.