Earl K. Miller
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Earl K. Miller was born and raised in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, one of two siblings—the other being his identical twin. His mother was a homemaker; his father an accountant. As a child, Miller was interested in science and continuously performed well in science classes in school. He entered Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, originally pursuing a degree in biology (and undertaking pre-medical coursework). After taking advice to do research in order to better his chances of getting into medical school, Miller volunteered to work in Richard M. Vardaris's psychology lab for his senior thesis. Vardaris was doing work on memory in the hippocampus, and, as Miller noted, once he started doing experiments and collecting neurophysiology data, he "fell in love" with research; Miller switched his major to psychology so that Vardaris could be his advisor. He matriculated at Princeton University for his graduate studies, ultimately working in the laboratory of Charles G. Gross studying the visual cortex, though his research in neuroscience evolved from object recognition to cognition; during this time Miller met his wife, a psychologist who later worked for the American Psychological Association. From Princeton Miller undertook postdoctoral work with Robert Desimone at the National Institutes of Health, transitioning from studying vision to studying the cognitive operations that operate on sensory information; he had a number of publications in top tier journals come out of this work. He moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts upon accepting a position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he focused his lab on cognitive neuroscience and executive brain control. The remainder of the interview with Miller focuses on what he believes are the practical applications of his research; the future of his research in cross-translational neurophysiology (from gene to system level); and his professional responsibilities. The interview concludes with his thoughts on the peer-review process; the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences; competition and collaboration in science; experimenting on living animals; and the privatization of scientific research.
|1985||Kent State University||BA||Psychology|
|1987||Princeton University||MA||Psychology and Neuroscience|
|1990||Princeton University||PhD||Psychology and Neuroscience|
National Institute of Mental Health
Kent State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Phi Beta Kappa
Graduate summa cum laude with honors, Kent State University
National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Training Fellowship
National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
Whitehall Foundation Fellowship
McKnight Scholar Award
Pew Scholar Award
John Merck Scholar Award
Class of 1956 Career Development Professorship
National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award
Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award
Elected to The International Society for Behavioral Neuroscience
Picower Professorship (endowed chair)
Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Table of Contents
Family background. Twin brother. Early interest in science. Childhood activities. School in Cleveland, Ohio. Defining moment when at Kent State University. Parental expectations. College experiences. Undergraduate neurophysiology project in Richard M. Vardaris's laboratory.
Princeton University. Works for Charles G. Gross studying the visual cortex. Typical day in graduate school. Research evolution in neuroscience from object recognition to cognition. Postdoctoral fellowship in Robert Desimone's laboratory at the National Institutes of Health. Meets his wife. Grant-writing process. Writing journal articles.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Setting up his laboratory. Current research in cognitive neuroscience on executive brain control. Practical applications of his research. Research in cross-translational neurophysiology from gene to system level. Teaching responsibilities. Peer-review process. Tenure at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lab management style. Leisure activities. Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences. Patents. Competition and collaboration in science. Prioritizing research projects. Educating the public about science. The national scientific agenda. Privatization of scientific research. More on competition, specifically in neuroscience.