Dr. Duane Miller Selected for IAOTP’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Duane Miller, Professor Emeritus, was recently chosen to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for 2024 by the International Association of Top Professionals.

While inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in and of itself, only a few select members are chosen for the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. These special honorees are selected to receive this award based on their longevity in their fields, their contributions to society, and their impact on their industries. Dr. Duane Miller will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award next December at IAOTP’s 2024 Annual Awards Gala at the magnificent Opryland Hotel in Nashville.


With more than four decades of exceptional experience in academics, Dr. Miller has certainly proven himself an expert in the field. As a purposeful leader, Dr Miller has held various significant roles, such as being an NIH Fellow at the University of Washington, a faculty member at Ohio State University, and Professor and Chairman of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology. Dr. Miller served as the Endowed Professor in The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2001, he took on the role of the departmental head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

His areas of expertise have included but are not limited to research on anticancer drugs, the development of conformationally restricted analogs of ephedrine, insights into the steric interactions shown by imidazolines, catecholamines, and tetrahydroisoquinolines while interacting with adrenoceptors. 

Dr. Miller has authored over 480 papers and has made contributions to sixteen book chapters. He has spoken at over four hundred conferences, both nationally and internationally. Moreover, he possesses a substantial number of patents and patent applications, amounting to over one hundred. Dr. Miller is dedicated to researching and developing medicinal compounds. In particular he interested in creating new pharmaceuticals for regions with limited treatment options in the cancer and developing medications with fewer side effects. In 1998, the initial nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) were discovered and recorded by Dr. Miller and Dr. Jim Dalton, who currently serves as Provost at The University of Alabama. GTx is a commercial entity that acquired the licensing rights for selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) and conducted clinical investigations with these compounds. The medications being studied were analyzed for their potential application in cancer patients suffering from muscle atrophy and osteoporosis. SARMs offer the benefit of being orally available and have a lower risk of side effects, notably reduced liver damage, compared to conventional muscle-building drugs. The pharmaceutical substances discussed could be advantageous in addressing decreased testosterone levels in older men, commonly known as ADAM or andropause. The SARMs underwent a thorough evaluation through human clinical trials, including Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III, to assess their effectiveness in treating cachexia in cancer patients. Despite these challenges, it is worth mentioning that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not authorize their use. They are now being considered by companies for breast cancer in AR+ breast cancer and as drug to be used in combination with diet drugs to save muscle. A completely innovative approach in drug development are the novel selective androgen receptor degraders (SARDs) were discovered through a collaboration with Dr. Ramesh Narayanan. This research highlights the SARDs’ capacity to break down the androgen receptor, showing promise for treating castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). One drug is currently undergoing clinical trials for treating CRPC by the company Oncternal. The drug Oncternal 534 is on an FDA fast tract. The following medications are created to help individuals in cases where traditional androgen receptor antagonists have not been successful in treating prostate cancer. Drs. Miller and Narayanan recently discovered Selective androgen receptor covalent antagonists (SARCAs). These compounds have promising applications in the treatment of prostate cancer. Dr. Miller has also collaborated with Dr. Gabor Tigyi on developing radiation mitigators, which were later licensed to RxBio. In addition, he collaborated with Dr. Ryan Yates on developing anti-inflammatory medications that have been licensed to RxBio. Dr. Miller and Dr. Elden Geisert worked together to make essential strides in brain cancer therapies, resulting in the discovery of chemicals that have been licensed by RxBio. 

Before embarking on his career path, Dr. Miller was born in 1943 on a farm in Larned, Kansas. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas in 1966 and obtained his Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Duane Miller has received many awards and accolades and has been recognized worldwide for his accomplishments. Dr. Miller’s academic career includes receiving the University of Tennessee National Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award in 1994. He was honored with the Student Government Association Executive Council (SGAEC) Excellence in Teaching Award in 1995, 2001, and 2005 for his exceptional teaching at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Pharmacy. In 2006, he received the University of Tennessee Pharmacy Class Teacher of the Year award. He has provided guidance to twenty-nine graduate students and thirty-five postdoctoral fellows. In 2023, he was honored with a place in Marquis Who’s Who. He will be honored at IAOTP’s annual awards Gala at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville for being named Top Professor Emeritus of the Year 2024 and for receiving The Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to his successful career, in 1990, Dr. Miller was honored with the title of Fellow by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). In recognition of his contributions to the understanding of the structural and stereochemical requirements of adrenergic medications in their interactions with the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous systems, he was honored as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2001. In 2008, the University of Washington College of Pharmacy bestowed upon him the prestigious title of “Alumni of the Year.” The American Chemical Society’s Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award was bestowed to him in June 2008 at the National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium. The Division of Medicinal Chemistry Award is bestowed every two years in the United States to a scientist or a collective of scientists who have made noteworthy contributions to the field of medicinal chemistry through their research endeavors, mentorship activities, and service to the discipline. He was inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame of the American Chemical Society at the National American Chemical Society Meeting held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in August 2008. The recipient was honored with the Volwiler Research Achievement Award for pharmaceutical science research by the National American Association Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) in 2009. He was granted admission to the National Academy of Inventors in 2015 at the California Institute of Technology, located in Pasadena, California. In 2019, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation acknowledged his achievement as the individual with the highest number of United States patents, totaling one hundred. In 2015, Dr. Miller was next  bestowed with the honorary title of Professor Emeritus. Presently, he continues doing research with the aid of external funding, focusing on the development, manufacturing, and examination of innovative pharmaceuticals intended for the treatment of cancer. At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, he is engaged in the active pursuit of patenting and publishing innovative pharmaceuticals for several types of cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, and glioblastoma brain cancer. This collaborative effort involves esteemed researchers such as Drs. Ramesh Narayanan, Wei Li, and Lawrence Pfeffer. The collaboration between Dr. Wei Li and Dr. Miller has spanned more than a decade, focusing on the development of tubulin inhibitors. One of the outcomes of their collaboration is the creation of Sabizabulin, a pharmaceutical compound licensed by Veru. Currently, Sabizabulin is undergoing Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer that is resistant to conventional therapies Additionally, this drug is also being investigated for its potential efficacy in managing respiratory distress syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 in adult patients. His latest NIH grant is with Dr. Lawrence Pfeffer, in the Medical School, on finding therapeutic enhancing drugs (TEDs) for treating glioblastoma. 

Looking back, Dr. Miller attributes his success to his perseverance, work ethic, and the mentors he has had, and the wonderful faculty and student collaborators that have worked  on the different research projects in cancer and androgen drug development areas. In the future, he hopes to inspire and influence those getting into the field.

For more information on Dr. Duane Miller, please visit:


About IAOTP 

The International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is an international boutique networking organization that handpicks the world’s finest, most prestigious top professionals from different industries. These top professionals are given an opportunity to collaborate, share their ideas, be keynote speakers, and help influence others in their fields. This organization is not a membership that anyone can join. You must be asked by the President or be nominated by a distinguished honorary member after a brief interview. 

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