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The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

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Edmund Miller, PhD CChem FRSC

Head, Center for Heart and Lung Research, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Director, Cardiopulmonary Research Laboratory, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Professor, Medicine & Molecular Medicine, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

Phone: (516) 562-1637
Email: emiller@nshs.edu

About the Investigator

Dr. Edmund Miller started his career in science in the pathology department at Kings College Hospital in 1972. He worked there for 14 years, leaving in 1986 as chief medical laboratory scientific officer. During that time, he earned a BSc (hons) in applied biology, FIMLS in clinical Chemistry, MSc in chemical analysis, a PhD in biochemistry from London University, and was a chartered chemist.

In 1986, Dr. Miller joined the research group of Dr. Allen Cohen at the University of Texas Health Center in Tyler, Texas, as a postdoctoral fellow. Their research focused on acute lung injury, and they were the first to define interleukin-8 as a major neutrophil chemotaxin in acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Subsequently, they designed and patented a series of specific small molecules to block the effects of interleukin-8, stopping movement and activation of these white cells to reduce their harmful effects. They also showed that these molecules could stop the growth and metastasis of several forms of cancer cells, including melanoma and adenocarcinoma.

In 1998, Dr. Miller was admitted to the Royal Society of Chemistry as a fellow, the highest class of membership. In 2001, he left the University of Texas and joined North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York as chief of surgical research. During his years in New York, he has focused on acute lung injury associated with bacterial infections and pulmonary hypertension.

In 2006, he was appointed associate professor of surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; scientific advisor, Shandong Academy of Sciences, Jinan, PR China; and associate professor, Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine.

He is currently head of the Center for Heart and Lung Research at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, professor of medicine and molecular medicine at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and professor at the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine.

Research Focus

Dr. Miller’s research focuses on lung inflammation and the role of the lung as an inflammatory organ. The studies in his laboratory involve both acute and chronic disorders that impact the lung.

His group has discovered that the lungs synthesize and release an important immune system messenger called macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) during severe illness. This affects cardiac and circulatory function and other vital organs, causing dysfunction and leading to multi-organ failure. They are closely studying the role of MIF at the molecular level with the goal of identifying new ways to control the inflammatory response to prevent or treat lung inflammation and injury and death associated with disease. Together with Dr. Yousef Al-Abed, they have shown that the thyroid hormone Thyroxine (T4) is a natural inhibitor of MIF and the normal balance between MIF and T4 is severely disturbed during severe illness.

In particular, they are studying the role of this important molecule in severe sepsis, a major inflammatory response to infection; and pulmonary hypertension, a condition characterized by vascular growth and proliferation, leading to increased pulmonary vascular resistance, pulmonary arterial pressure, right ventricular failure and death. Their studies examine the inflammatory responses involved in the development and progression of the disease.

Sepsis

Severe sepsis is a major inflammatory response to infection that kills almost a quarter of a million hospitalized patients in the United States each year. Recently, Dr. Miller and his colleagues have found that lung injury caused by severe sepsis induces detrimental changes in other organs, particularly the heart. The group has discovered that during infection the lungs synthesize and release MIF, which affects cardiac and circulatory function and other vital organs, causing dysfunction and leading to multi-organ failure. Along with Dr. Yousef Al-Abed’s group, they have made the surprising discovery that the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) can bind within the inflammatory active site of MIF.

These findings demonstrate a new physiological role for T4 as a natural inhibitor of the MIF proinflammatory activities involved in sepsis. This previously unrecognized, clinically relevant, interaction between MIF and T4 in critically ill patients is now the focus of studies to determine if the interaction can be exploited in future therapeutic approaches for the treatment of sepsis.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic progressive disorder that leads to remodeling of blood vessels in the lung, low oxygen in the blood, right-sided heart failure and death. The disorder is also associated with anxiety, cognitive dysfunction and depression. PAH can be idiopathic or associated with other conditions, including connective tissue diseases, HIV infection and portal hypertension.

PH demonstrates rapid deterioration after diagnosis, with an average survival time for primary pulmonary hypertension only 2.8 years, and an estimated 5 year survival rate of between 21-34%. The poor prognosis and lack of effective PAH disease modifying agents underscore the need for a better understanding of disease pathogenesis in order to identify new therapeutic approaches. Their studies suggest a key role for MIF in the development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodeling and hypertension. They have shown a relationship between MIF in both patients and models of the disease and that inhibition of MIF inflammatory activity may be a useful treatment strategy to inhibit the development and progression of hypoxia-induced vascular remodeling and cognitive dysfunction.

While their current studies focus on the interactions of MIF and T4 in the pathogenesis of PAH, data achieved in the study will be directly relevant to other cardiopulmonary disease states in which MIF is increased including stroke, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, pulmonary fibrosis and obstructive sleep apnea.

Lab Members

Kameshwar Rao S Ayyasola
Research Scientist

Mina Laucella
Admin Support Associate

Ji Young Lee
Elmezzi Scholar

Ke Lin
Sr Research Assist

Kanta Ochani
Post Doc Res Fellow(RI)(GF)

Education

North East Thames Polytechnic, London, UK
Degree: BSc (honors)
1977-1980
Field of Study: Applied biology

Thames Polytechnic, London, UK
Degree: MSc
1980-1983
Field of Study: Analytical chemistry

King’s College, London University, UK
Degree: PhD
1984-1989
Field of Study: Biochemistry

Awards & Honors

1994-1997 Parker B. Francis Fellow in Pulmonary Research
1994 Member, American Thoracic Society
1994-1999 Chairman, IACUC University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, TX
1995-1998 American Heart Association (Texas Affiliate) Central Research Review Committee
1997-present Member, American Association of Immunologists
1997-present Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship for biomedical research in Japan
1998-present Elected Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (CChem FRSC)
1999 Member, NIH Special Emphasis Panel Review Committee
1999-2000 American Heart Association (Western Consortium) Central Research Review Committee
1999-2001 Chairman, IACUC Equine Medical Center & Veterinary Hospital, Gresham TX
2002-present Member, Society for Leukocyte Biology
2002-present Member, Shock Society
2003 Member, Animal Research Committee (National), Shock Society
2003-2007 Chairman, IACUC North Shore-LIJ Research Institute, Manhasset, NY
2004 Member, Surgical Infection Society
2006 Scientific Advisor, Shandong Academy of Sciences, Jinan, PR China
2007-present Member, Society for Critical Care Medicine
2009-present Member, Scientific Advisory Board, LeukoDx Ltd, Baltimore, MD
2011-present Member, NIH Special Review Committee RFA-HL-11-032 (Lung Tissue for Vascular Research)
2012-present Member, NIH Special Review Committee RFA HL-12-021 (Right Ventricular- PAH)

Publications
  1. Zhang, Y., Talwar, A., Tsang, D., Bruchfeld, A., Sadoughi, A., Hu, M., Omonuwa, K., Cheng, K.F., Al-Abed, Y., Miller, E.J. (2012) “Macrophage migration inhibitory factor mediates hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension.” Mol Med 18, 215 – 223.
  2. Ahmed, M.N., Zhang, Y., Codipilly, C., Zaghloul, N., Patel, D., Wolin, M., Miller, E.J. (2012) “Extracellular superoxide dismutase overexpression can reverse the course of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension.” Mol Med 18, 38-46.
  3. Min, J.H., Codiphilly, C.N., Nasim, S., Miller, E.J., Ahmed, M.N. (2012) “Synergistic protection against hyperoxia-induced lung injury by neutrophils blockade and EC-SOD overexpression.” Respir Res 13, 58.
  4. Entezari, M., Weiss, D.J., Sitapara, R., Whittaker, L., Wargo, M.J., Li, J., Wang, H., Yang, H., Sharma, L., Phan, B.D., Javdan, M., Chavan, S.S., Miller, E.J., Tracey, K.J., Mantell, L.L. (2012) “Inhibition of HMGB1 Enhances Bacterial Clearance and Protects against P.” aeruginosa Pneumonia in Cystic Fibrosis. Mol Med 18, 477-85.
  5.  Zhang, Y., Lin, X., Koga, K., Takahashi, K., Linge, H.M., Mello, A., Laragione, T., Gulko, P.S., Miller, E.J. (2011) “Strain differences in alveolar neutrophil infiltration and macrophage phenotypes in an acute lung inflammation model.” Mol Med 17, 780-9.
  6. Koga, K., Kenessey, A., Powell, S.R., Sison, C.P., Miller, E.J., Ojamaa, K. (2011) “Macrophage migration inhibitory factor provides cardioprotection during ischemia/reperfusion by reducing oxidative stress.” Antioxid Redox Signal 14, 1191-202.
  7. Al-Abed, Y., Metz, C.N., Cheng, K.F., Aljabari, B., VanPatten, S., Blau, S., Lee, H., Ochani, M., Pavlov, V.A., Coleman, T., Meurice, N., Tracey, K.J., Miller, E.J. (2011) “Thyroxine is a potential endogenous antagonist of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) activity.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 8224-7.
  8. Sadoughi, A., Zhang, Y., Miller, E.J., Talwar, A. (2010) “Inflammatory mechanisms in pulmonary hypertension.” CML Pulmonary Hypertension 1, 93-106.
  9. Takahashi, K., Koga, K., Linge, H.M., Zhang, Y., Lin, X., Metz, C.N., Al-Abed, Y., Ojamaa, K., Miller, E.J. (2009) “Macrophage CD74 contributes to MIF-induced pulmonary inflammation.” Respir Res 10, 33.
  10. Bruchfeld, A., Carrero, J.J., Qureshi, A.R., Lindholm, B., Barany, P., Heimburger, O., Hu, M., Lin, X., Stenvinkel, P., Miller, E.J. (2009) “Elevated serum macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) concentrations in chronic kidney disease (CKD) are associated with markers of oxidative stress and endothelial activation.” Mol Med 15, 70-5

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