Francis Joseph Miller Jr.
Professor of Medicine

The central goal of my research program is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to the generation of reactive oxygen species and pathophysiology of vascular disease. I am an internationally recognized expert in NADPH oxidases and detection of reactive oxygen species in blood vessels and vascular cells. As a practicing cardiologist, I strive to integrate research findings across the spectrum of molecular mechanisms to cultured cells to animal models to human disease. A secondary focus utilizes the selectivity of RNA aptamers for therapeutic targeting.

Current Research Interests

Current Projects:

  1. Studies identifying the mechanisms responsible for accelerated vascular disease in conditions of chronic inflammation. We are testing the hypothesis that chronic inflammation increases circulating epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like ligands, which induces vascular Nox1 expression and primes smooth muscle cells to cytokine activation.
  2. Studies are exploring a molecular mechanism of redox homeostasis in the vasculature by testing the hypothesis that miRNA-mediated changes in Nox4 expression dynamically regulate the cellular redox state and coordinate the expression of genes implicated in the development of vascular disease.
  3. Studies are identifying the molecular mechanisms involved in the activation of Nox1 NADPH oxidase and identifying specific motifs necessary for its phosphorylation and trafficking. We are testing a small peptide as a potential selective inhibitor of Nox1 activation.
  4. Studies are developing vascular cell-targeted aptamers for bio-drug delivery. Experiments are testing whether RNA aptamers can selectively inhibit SMC activation and deliver RNAi modulators for the treatment of neointimal hyperplasia.
  5. Studies are exploring novel approaches to neutralize the effects of circulating histones for the treatment of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • 203 Research Drive, 397 MSRB1, Durham, NC 27705
  • 508 Fulton St, Bldg 15, Room 306, Durham, NC 27705

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