Julia Ziebro Receives NextGen Predoctoral Scholar Award

Third-year Miller Lab graduate student Julia Ziebro has received a NextGen Predoctoral Scholar Award for her project entitled “Therapeutic targeting of epigenetic adaptation to EGFR inhibition in glioblastoma”. This award is funded by the O’Neal Young Supporters Board through the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB to support the training of future scientific leaders in cancer research. Julia will receive funding toward her graduate student stipend and travel for conferences for the next two years and we are very excited for her!

Julia Ziebro named AMC21 Scholar

Miller lab PhD student Julia Ziebro has been awarded an AMC21 scholarship! The AMC21 Scholar program is administered through the UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS) program and supported by the School of Medicine through the Academic Enrichment Fund. Scholars are selected from among GBS applicants for their previous academic achievements as well as for their research potential, with the goal of giving these students the tools they need to succeed at the highest level. Through this program, Julia will receive stipend support and discretionary funds that will allow her to travel to scientific meetings to present her research. She will also participate in an annual symposium and have access to mentoring support to help her achieve her research and career goals. We are very proud of her for this amazing accomplishment!

Miller Lab Alum Publishes Co-First Author Paper

Courtney Quick, who worked in the Miller Lab in the UNC Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program in 2018, is co-first author on a new paper out today in Cellular Signalling. Courtney and her colleagues in the lab of Dr. Thomas Meigs at UNC Asheville found structural features responsible for differences in function between two guanine nucleotide binding proteins, Ga12 and Ga13. Overexpression of these proteins has been implicated in various cancers; therefore, these structural differences could help to develop drugs that can selectively target either Ga12 or Ga13 to influence their signaling in the context of disease. Courtney is now working at the NIH supported by their Intramural Research Training Award in the lab of Dr. Kathleen Merikangas.

Julia Ziebro joins the lab

The Miller Lab officially has four graduate students! Julia Ziebro, a GBS student who rotated with us in the fall of 2019, has officially joined the lab for her PhD work. Julia graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BS in chemistry in 2018 and is joining the GBS Cancer Biology theme. Her research will focus on examining the epigenetic mechanisms of dynamic kinome rewiring in response to oncogenic mutations and kinase inhibitor therapies. She hopes to use these studies to develop novel kinase/epigenetic combination therapies for glioma. Julia is a great fit with the lab and we’re very excited to have her around for the next few years!

Team BrainSTEM: Miller Lab Shows Up to Support Brain Tumor Research at UAB’s 2019 Blazer Bolt

Dreary skies and wet pavement couldn’t stop the Miller Lab from running, walking, and cheering our way closer to better treatments for brain tumors on Saturday morning. UAB’s annual Blazer Bolt, a 5K race and 1 mile fun run that raises money for brain cancer research right here at UAB and Children’s Alabama, went off beautifully and our lab members were among the 800-some participants who gathered to race and support patients and families affected by brain cancer.

Along with the race, this event featured a Survivor Walk, in which brain cancer survivors, their families, and their friends crossed the finish line. The Survivor Walk is truly the heart of Blazer Bolt and was a moving, beautiful experience both for those participating and those cheering them on. Seeing the resilience of these incredible patients and their loved ones was a powerful motivator to continue our research towards finding a cure for glioblastoma. Funds raised from Blazer Bolt will benefit the brain tumor tissue bank biorepository, which will directly benefit the Miller Lab’s research on patient tumor samples and the development of future treatments.

Along with benefiting exciting new research, the Miller Lab members put in a strong showing at the race. Graduate students Abby Shelton, Erin Smithberger, and Kasey Skinner ran the 5K, with Abby and Erin sprinting to personal records for the distance, and Kasey winning her age group. Dr. Miller participated in the 1 mile fun run and boasted the largest fun run fan club thanks to all three graduate students making him handmade signs. Lab manager Ryan Bash and rotation student Julia Ziebro formed the best support squad, directing runners along the course and cheering them on. Ending the day with an excellent brunch at Big Bad Breakfast, we all basked in our accomplishments and are already looking forward to next year.

Miller Lab Attends the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center Retreat

The Miller Lab had a strong showing at the annual UAB O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center Retreat. Dr. Miller presented current exciting research in the lab on glioma kinome profiling in a talk during the afternoon session, and all three graduate students presented posters on their work. It was a great day of interesting science, meeting new friends and collaborators, and good food!

Graduate student Erin Smithberger explains her research on acute EGFR inhibitor resistance in glioblastoma to a poster judge.
Graduate student Abby Shelton presents her poster on acquired drug resistance in glioblastoma.
Dr. Miller wraps up his talk on kinome profiling in glioblastoma, which was met with lots of good questions and excellent feedback.
Graduate student Kasey Skinner won the Seng-jaw Soong Award for Excellence in Biostatistic and Bioinformatics Research for her poster on using the Collaborative Cross to dissect the effect of host genetics on glioblastoma progression.