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Election Year: 1997
Scientific Discipline: Genetics
Membership Type: Member
Lois K. Miller performed groundbreaking research on genetically modified viruses and those viruses’ interactions with host cells. She genetically modified baculoviruses (large rod shaped viruses), used in biopesticides, through insect specific expression vectors. These specific vectors helped increase viral activity within the target insects, decreased crop damage, and reduced negative effects on beneficial species. Miller also outlined the characteristics of apoptosis (programmed cell death) in host cells by identifying key components in the regulatory pathway and elucidated that apoptosis is an important defense against viral invasion.
Miller graduated from Upsala College in 1967 and went on to earn her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972. She was awarded prestigious postdoctoral fellowships with the American Cancer Society at the California Institute of Technology and the National Institutes of Health at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund between 1971 and 1976. She began work at the University of Idaho as a professor of chemistry and biochemistry from 1976 to 1986. Miller was named Research Professor of entomology and genetics at the University of Georgia from 1986 until her death. She was the recipient of the National Institutes of Health Merit Award.