Todd W. Miller, PhD named director of PEMM program

Dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies Jon Kull and Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine Duane Compton have named Dr. Todd W. Miller as the Director of Dartmouth’s Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine (PEMM). 

Miller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Systems Biology (MSB) at the Geisel School of Medicine, where he runs a translational research laboratory focused on breast cancer therapies. As a faculty member in the PEMM program, Miller has designed, implemented, taught, and overseen multiple graduate courses, and he has graduated four PhD and MD/PhD candidates since joining Dartmouth in 2012. He also serves on multiple thesis committees and comes to the PEMM directorship from a Co-Director appointment in the PEMM Cancer Biology, Pharmacology, and Molecular Therapeutics Theme.

The PEMM program integrates translational research spanning several fields, including cancer biology, immunology, and neuroscience. Miller’s background includes molecular neuroscience and translational cancer biology, a diversity which he believes has positioned him to effectively lead the multidisciplinary PEMM program. He intends to build upon this platform, expanding the current curriculum and seeking National Institute of Health (NIH) funding for the program. “As Director of PEMM, I plan to foster enrichment of the curriculum to provide education across diseases and their underlying molecular bases,” he says. “I will also promote the acquisition of NIH funding to support PEMM as a transdisciplinary biomedical sciences training program.” 

Broadening the student experience is an ongoing passion of Miller’s, particularly as it concerns non-academic careers and skill sets. “Many biomedical PhDs work in careers outside of academia,” he says. “However, mentors in academia often struggle to provide career guidance on non-academic careers. I designed the course Enterprise Experience Internship (PEMM 128) to provide students with real-world, hands-on experience with enterprises through internship during graduate school. Such experience will expose students to career opportunities during graduate school, providing students with lead-time to focus and network in a field of interest prior to completion of their PhD.”

In addition to his PEMM and MSB appointments, Miller serves in several roles at Dartmouth, including Scientific Director of the Comprehensive Breast Program at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC), Co-Director of the NCCC Molecular Tumor Board, and Co-Director of the NCCC Cancer Biology & Therapeutics Research Program. Miller values these appointments, along with his membership in the MSB department, as further opportunities through which to enrich the PEMM student experience. “My membership in MSB provides a background from which to engage students across all PEMM themes,” he says, “and my role as Co-Director of the Cancer Biology & Therapeutics Research Program within the Cancer Center will enable me to provide a broad perspective to PEMM students focused on cancer research.”

Dean Jon Kull of the Guarini School enthusiastically welcomes Dr. Miller to his new role, which started on July 1st. “I’m delighted that Todd Miller will be leading the PEMM program and look forward to working with him to support the graduate students and PEMM faculty,” he says. “It is an excellent program and I have been impressed with the number of awards and fellowships PEMM students receive, and also with the PEMM students I have worked with on the Graduate Student Council.” Kull added that he would like to thank Miller’s predecessor, Professor Hermes Yeh, “for all the work he put into leading the PEMM program over the past three years.”

Yeh, who will continue to serve as a PEMM professor in the Neuroscience track, notes that he “envisions PEMM thriving under Dr. Miller’s leadership.” Miller intends to build upon the foundation left by Yeh and others: “I am honored to be appointed Director of PEMM, and I look forward to enhancing the training of our current and future students. I am grateful to our past director Hermes Yeh, PhD and the faculty who developed and shaped PEMM into the fine program we find today.”