Jeffrey Miller, MD

Deputy Director; Co-Leader Immunology Program
Administrative support contact for Dr. Miller: Amirah Gray

Jeffrey S. Miller, MD, received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and received his MD from Northwestern University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation at the University of Minnesota, he joined the faculty in 1991. Dr. Miller is currently a Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He is the Deputy Director of the University of Minnesota Masonic Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has more than 20 years of experience studying the biology of NK cells and other immune effector cells and their use in clinical immunotherapy with over 170 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of numerous societies such as the American Society of Hematology, the American Association of Immunologists, a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation since 1999. He serves on the editorial board for Blood and is a reviewer for a number of journals and NIH grants.

Awards & Recognition

  • Distinguished Research Lecture Award
  • Best Doctors in America® (2011-2012, 2013)

Professional Associations

  • Member, BMT CTN Biomarkers Committee 2016-present


Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation
Deputy Director, Masonic Cancer Center (MCC)
Roger L. and Lynn C. Headrick Chair in Cancer Therapeutics
Associate Scientific Director, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics
Faculty, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology (MICaB) Ph.D. Graduate Program
Preceptor, Medical Scientist Training Program (Combined MD/PhD Training Program)

Hematologist / Oncologist
Medical School, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL
Residency, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Fellowship, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

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Research Summary/Interests

Natural Killer (NK) Cell Development 

Throughout his academic career Dr. Miller has been interested in NK cell biology. His laboratory is focused on understanding the mechanisms of NK cell development and determining how NK cell killer immunoglobulin receptor (KIR) acquisition affects NK cell function through a process referred to as NK cell education or licensing. Most recently, he has been exploring the role of cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation after hematopoietic cell transplantation in enhancing NK cell reconstitution and function. CMV is the only virus known to induce the development of ”adaptive” NK cells with memory properties which are long lived and exhibit enhanced responses to subsequent exposures. Dr. Miller and his team have identified these adaptive NK cells in humans and determined that they have a methylation signature remarkably similar to that of CD8+ T cells. His long-term goal is to translate these novel findings into better NK-cell based immunotherapies to treat cancer without the morbidity of CMV infection.

Targeted Immunotherapy to Treat Human Cancer 

Dr. Miller was the first to report that related donor haploidentical allogeneic NK cells can expand after adoptive transfer and induce remission in patients with refractory leukemia. Building on this landmark study, he spends significant effort developing novel methods to exploit NK cells therapeutically to treat infections, to cure cancer and to improve outcomes from allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). He also leads a focused effort to understand the association of KIR immunogenetics with protection against relapse after allogeneic HCT. Dr. Miller and his team have demonstrated that transplants from donors with favorable KIR genes protect against relapse of acute myeloid leukemia after unrelated donor HCT. He is currently testing novel strategies to activate NK cells in vivo (using novel proteins such as interleukin-15) and to create antigen-specific NK cells with Bispecific Killer Engagers (BiKEs), which are proteins that facilitate targeting of tumor antigens by NK cells.

Current Discovery & Research Themes in the Miller Laboratory:

  • NK cells and their receptors after hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • CMV induced adaptive NK cells exhibit enhanced function through CD16
  • Induction of NK cells antigen specificity through CD16 targeting
  • Preserving and enhancing NK cell function through antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicy (ADCC)


Clinical Interests

Bone marrow transplant; Cancer immunotherapy