Sheldon Miller, Ph.D.
Sheldon Miller, Ph.D., is a senior advisor to the director of the National Eye Institute (NEI). Miller served as scientific director of NEI intramural research from 2002 to 2019.
Miller trained in physics, earning a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology in 1961 and an M.Sc. from Ohio State University in 1965. He earned a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Michigan in 1970 followed by postdoctoral training in physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1976, he joined the vision science faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. There, he gained tenure in vision research in 1980, receiving a joint appointment as professor of molecular and cell biology in 1988. In 2002, Miller joined the NEI intramural program as scientific director and chief of the NEI Section on Epithelial and Retinal Physiology and Disease.
As scientific director, Miller championed efforts to support research fellows and scientific staff. He reorganized and expanded the NEI research cores and fostered collaborations with fellow NIH institutes and centers. His recruitment efforts, which include hiring the first NEI Earl Stadtman investigators and Lasker scholars, have strengthened the intramural program’s expertise in genetics, neuroscience, immunology, translational science, and clinical research.
Miller is an authority on the physiology of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a monolayer of cells that supports the retina’s light-sensing photoreceptors. He has studied RPE regulation and function and how it interacts with photoreceptors. His program has developed pre-clinical animal models of diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It has also identified RPE micro-RNAs that regulate cellular integrity. Additionally, his team has discovered genes that distinguish the RPE from other epithelial tissues. They have applied this knowledge toward development of an AMD therapy that uses patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to generate RPE replacement tissue.
Miller has authored more than 90 scientific publications and has received several patents related to ophthalmological therapeutics.