Marvin Miller inducted into the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame

Author: Tammi Freehling

Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been selected for induction into the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Medicinal Chemistry (MEDI) Hall of Fame during the 252nd ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia in late August.

For nearly 40 years, Miller has made countless contributions to medicinal chemistry, focusing on a mixture of synthetic organic chemistry and bioorganic chemistry to develop new methods in an effort to study, prevent, and cure diseases, particularly targeting tuberculosis and bacterial infections. His pioneering work on developing synthetic techniques for ß-lactams remains the most effective, practical, and versatile method for their preparation and allows for complete control of peripheral functionality and stereochemistry. Miller also discovered that analogously substituted imidazopyridines and imidazothiazoles are potent and exquisitely selective anti-TB compounds that target selective inhibition of mycobacterial respiration. This work is being investigated further to develop low-cost, highly-selective anti-TB pharmaceuticals.

Miller has over 300 peer-reviewed publications and more than 25 US patents. He has mentored more than 80 graduate students and 70 postdoctoral researchers and visiting scientists. In nominating Miller, Shahriar Mobashery, Navari Family Professor of Life Sciences at Notre Dame, wrote, “His service to the profession, his membership on a number of editorial advisory boards and grant review panels and popularity as a consultant worldwide, and his reputation for superb training and placement of lab workers has been remarkable. His chemistry is noted for being innovative, yet practical and reproducible.”

Mobashery’s sentiments were echoed by John Macor, Ph.D., Executive Director Immunoscience Discovery Chemistry, Bristol Myers Squibb, who wrote about Miller, “His commitment to both research in organic and medicinal chemistry, coupled with his devotion to training the next generation of organic and medicinal chemists makes him the ideal candidate for the MEDI Hall of Fame.”

Professor Miller joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1977 after receiving a Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry from Cornell University and following postdoctoral work at the University of California-Berkeley. In 1996, Miller was named the George & Winifred Clark Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and in 2016 was promoted to Professor Emeritus.

Befittingly, two of Miller’s former students have also been inducted into the MEDI Hall of Fame. John Macor was inducted in 2014 and Ann Weber was inducted along with Miller in 2016, a testament not only to Miller’s own contributions to chemistry but to the lasting impact he has made on subsequent generations of chemists as well.