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World-renowned neurobiologist Dr. Freda Miller joins UBC

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

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Miller join us. Not only does Dr. Miller bring a wealth of knowledge in developmental neurobiology, but she is a rare scientist that has experience connecting the dots from exciting discoveries to new potential therapies for devastating diseases. We are thankful for the President’s Academic Excellence Initiative program in helping us bring Dr. Miller to UBC.
 – Dr. Peter Zandstra, Director of the Michael Smith Laboratories, and Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering

Dr. Freda Miller will soon join UBC from the University of Toronto and SickKids

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. 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. Freda Miller

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).

“The President’s Academic Excellence Initiative is focused on bringing new faculty to the university in a way that will significantly enhance the research and teaching environment for our faculty and all students, graduate and undergraduate, by strengthening the research ecosystem and ensuring research impact. We’re glad to welcome Dr. Miller to UBC and look forward to collaborating with her.”
– Dr. Andrew Szeri, Provost and Vice-President Academic, UBC Vancouver

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Miller to UBC