Ann Miller Bio

Ann Miller, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of MCDB

I was born and raised in Brookings, South Dakota. I attended college at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, where I worked on my first independent research projects on campus with Dr. Ellis Bell and through a summer undergraduate research program at the Mayo Clinic with Dr. Diane Jelinek. These experiences convinced me that I wanted to attend graduate school. In addition to pursuing my interests in science during college, I completed a minor in Philosophy, played varsity volleyball, and sang in The Gustavus Choir.

I attended graduate school at Yale University where I worked with Dr. Tony Koleske. My graduate work, which was funded by a predoctoral NRSA from the NINDS, examined the molecular mechanisms by which the Arg (Abl-related gene) nonreceptor tyrosine kinase regulates cytoskeletal structure, cell morphology, and cell motility. Through this work, I became interested in the cytoskeleton and how actin and microtubules work together to direct dynamic cellular processes. Outside the lab, I founded and co-led a Women in Science group for graduate students and postdocs at Yale. Along with a colleague from this group, we developed a mentoring program that matched graduate students and postdocs with undergraduate students who were interested in pursuing careers in science.

Having developed a keen interest in understanding how actin and microtubules coordinately direct dynamic cellular processes, I carried out my postdoctoral work in Dr. Bill Bement’s lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In my postdoc, I began studying how Rho small GTPase regulate cytokinesis in Xenopus laevis embryos. My work demonstrated that a cytokinetic zone of high Rho activity is tightly regulated by GEFs, GAPs, and other proteins. Moreover, it is essential for the Rho zone to maintain its equatorial position and focus to successfully direct cytokinesis. My postdoctoral work was funded by postdoctoral fellowships from the American Cancer Society and the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation and a K99 Pathway to Independence Grant from the NIH/NIGMS. During my postdoc, I also worked on developing my skills as a teacher and mentor via presenting guest lectures, mentoring undergraduates and graduate students in lab, and actively participating in seminars and groups through the DELTA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I started my own lab at the University of Michigan in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department in Summer 2011. The Miller Lab is focused on investigating the molecular mechanisms by which Rho small GTPases regulate cytokinesis and cell-cell junction dynamics in epithelial cells using Xenopus laevis embryos as a model system. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two kids.  We enjoy traveling, outdoor and sporting activities, reading, cooking, crafting, gardening, and doing projects around the house.


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