Postdoc Spotlight - Dr. Derek Miller

January, 2017


What is your area of specialization?

My involvement in scientific research stems back to the early years of my undergraduate career at the University of Pittsburgh, where I received a B.S. in Biological Sciences. After graduating, I spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh as a full-time research technician in the laboratory of Dr. Bill Yates. I received my Ph.D. in Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience from Northwestern University in 2014, under the supervision of Dr. Zev Rymer. My doctoral thesis was focused on investigating the contributions of vestibular pathways to the maintenance of post-stroke spasticity. My interest in the vestibular system developed while working as a laboratory technician in my current sponsor’s laboratory.


What is your current research project?

I am a third-year Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Otolaryngology. My postdoctoral work is sponsored by Drs. Bill Yates and Andrew McCall. I am currently investigating the contributions of hindlimb proprioceptive signals to balance control through their influences on reticulospinal neurons. Through this work, we hope to elucidate how body movements are signaled to CNS neurons that process vestibular information.


Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.

One of the most rewarding experiences that I have had in the past year was the ability to work with and mentor our undergraduate researchers. 


What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I would like to develop a research program at a primarily undergraduate institution where I can actively engage undergraduates in the research process with the intent of cultivating future scientists.


If not a scientist, what would you be?

I would be a veterinarian or an airline pilot.