Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases ResearchTitle: Dr. James N. Miller; Virtuoso of All Spirochetes
Submitted to: Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/4/2017
Publication Date: 6/6/2016
Citation: Nally, J.E. 2016. Dr. James N. Miller; Virtuoso of All Spirochetes. Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics. Volume 7/Issue 3-4. doi: 10.1615/forumimmundisther.2017020504.
Interpretive Summary: This is a short tribute for includsion in a special issue of Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics that describes the work of Dr. James N. Miller, an eminent scientist and pioneer in the field of Spirocehte Biology.
Technical Abstract: I keep a list of names near my desk at work: these are names of some people who I have met through my life and for whom I have the utmost respect and gratitude. I use this list to remind me who I want to be like. Top of the list is Dr. Miller. I first met Dr. Miller as a graduate student whilst presenting my first ever scientific poster on leptospires, one of the “other” spirochetes. I still remember that first meeting with Dr. Miller; he was very gracious as we discussed my findings, and left me feeling very good about my work (which, in hindsight, wasn’t that good…but Dr. Miller’s style is always to encourage). I graduated a few years later and was fortunate to move to Los Angeles to continue working on leptospires as a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA. Although I did not know it at the time, the real luck for me was the chance to work with Dr. Miller. While most people will recognize Dr. Miller for his outstanding achievements working with the syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum, his research accomplishments also include an extensive amount of work on other spirochetes, including pathogenic species of Leptospira and Borrelia. For those of us who have had the honor of working with Dr. Miller, we are marked not only by his scientific legacy, but the legacy of a true gentleman. It was routine to walk by Dr. Miller’s office, smell the coffee, and drop in for an impromptu “chat”…those were great memories in my research career, as these “chats” covered everything from the latest science and planned experiments, tales of historical microbiological studies, to important lessons in life. Dr. Miller is a mentor for everyone; as a microbiologist, a teacher and a friend. He is always top of my list.