This article was originally published on the Michael Smith Laboratories website and has been slightly adapted. You can find he original article here. 

The Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Medical Genetics are pleased to announce that Dr. Freda Miller (pictured), a stem cell and developmental neurobiologist, will join UBC this fall.

Dr. Miller has made seminal scientific discoveries over the course of her career. Her discovery of stem cells in the second layer of the skin has provided the conceptual basis for using skin as a major source for genesis of human stem cells. The stem cells she discovered are critical for the repair of injured skin.

At the same time, Dr. Miller discovered new mechanisms determining whether nerve cells live or die, findings that initiated new fields of research and that have major implications for our understanding of neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Miller has also made significant contributions to understanding how stem cells build the brain during normal development and how this goes awry in neurodevelopmental disorders. This led to her recent discovery that the commonly used diabetes drug metformin can be used to promote repair of the injured brain.

These outstanding discoveries have been widely recognized within the scientific community and have led to clinical trials for therapies that “wake up” our own stem cells to repair the injured brain and skin. They have also led to her co-founding two biotechnology companies.

“I am delighted to be joining the highly innovative and collaborative UBC research community,” says Dr. Miller. “This new position represents a unique opportunity for me to pursue research in the forward-looking and exciting UBC environment during what is arguably the golden age for biomedical research.”

Dr. Miller joins UBC from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she has been a Senior Scientist and Professor at the University of Toronto. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and at the Hospital for Sick Children she was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar and the Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neurobiology.  Most recently, Dr. Miller ‘s accomplishments were recognized by the naming of the “Dr. Freda Miller” public school by the Calgary Board of Education. Since 2018, Dr. Miller has been an Affiliate Professor with UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering and an Associate Member of the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD).

Dr. Miller is also currently collaborating on a project with DMCBH researchers Drs. Brian MacVicar and Fabio Rossi to study the meninges, a highly specialized membrane that encases the brain which has been largely understudied.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Miller to UBC.