Lois K. Miller
Inventor’s Award 2001
Lois K. Miller was nominated posthumously to receive the Inventor of the Year Award. She was recognized internationally as a leading expert on using insect viruses to control pests of agricultural crops and conducted research on the molecular genetics of insect viruses. Her work held significance for many areas of basic and applied biology. Among her achievements was the development of genetically improved viruses for environmentally friendly pesticides. Her altered viruses control harmful pests and have minimal impact on beneficial insect species. A Distinguished Research Professor of Genetics and Entomology, Dr. Miller also conducted research on programmed cell death, or apoptosis, a routine but important process both in normal growth and development and in fighting diseases and viral invasions. She and her students discovered two classes of genes that could help inhibit programmed cell death, a process also implicated in the development of diseases from cancer to AIDS. Dr. Miller was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and was also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Microbiology. She also was a charter member of the American Society of Virology. Dr. Miller also received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health and the Chiron Biotechnology Research Award from the American Society of Microbiology. She held eight U.S. patents and authored some 150 articles in professional journals. Her research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.