R. Bryan Miller Symposium

2016 plenary speaker, Professor Thomas Hoye along with invited speakers and planning committee members.

2016 plenary speaker, Professor Thomas Hoye, along with invited speakers and planning committee members. (Photo by TJ Ushing)

17th Annual R. Bryan Miller Symposium
March 16-17, 2017
UC Davis Conference Center

The Miller Symposium celebrates Professor Bryan Miller's pioneering research, which laid the groundwork for the current thriving research programs in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the Department of Chemistry at UC Davis. Top speakers from the world of chemical biology will share cutting edge research results and perspectives on the future of biologically relevant chemistry research.

Click here to download the flier (NOTE: Mini Symposium on March 16 starts at 1:00pm, NOT 2:00pm as indicated on the flier)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mini Symposium: Chemistry & Biology of Aging 


Opening Remarks
Sundeep Dugar


David Hughes, Postdoctoral Researcher, Baar Lab, UC Davis
"Impact of Aging on the Cytoskeleton Protein Network in Skeletal Muscle"


Cynthia T. McMurray, Sr. Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
"Death by DNA Repair – Reversing Oxidative Damage in Huntington Disease"


Steve Clarke, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, UCLA
"Fighting Off Aging with Biochemistry"


Bradford Gibson, Professor at Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Director, Discovery Attribute Sciences (DAS) Proteomics & Protein Characterization Therapeutic Discovery, Amgen Inc.
"Mitochondrial Sirtuins and Aging"

3:30pm  Break

Introduction of Alumni Speaker (Mark Kurth)

Babak Borhan, Synthetic & Bioorganic Chemistry, Michigan State University
"Lessons from Rhodopsin and Bacteriorhdopsin: Engineered Protein/Chromophore Systems with unique Spectroscopic Properties"

5:00pm ACS Sponsored Student Poster Session & “Opening Reception”
6:30pm Close

Friday, March 17, 2017


Registration and Coffee/Pastries


Opening Remarks
Sheila David, Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Miller Symposium


Alexandra Navrotsky, Interim Dean
College of L&S, Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences


Ting Guo, Professor of Chemistry and Chair, Department of Chemistry


Shota Atsumi, Professor of Chemistry, UC Davis
"Cyanobacterial Chemical Production"

9:55am Break


Emma Parmee, Associate VP, Merck & Co.
"The Discovery of Glucagon Receptor Antagonists for Clinical Development"


John Mulcahy, Co-Inventor, VP of Research, SiteOne Therapeutics
"Inspiration from Nature in Drug Discovery-Idenfitication of Selective Inhibitors of NaV1.7"




Emily Balskus, Professor of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Harvard University
"Chemical Discovery in the Human Microbiome"

1:45pm Francis Gosselin, Genentech Research & Early Development

"Efficient Process Chemistry Towards a Complex Kinase Inhibitor: Asymmetric Synthesis on Scale"


Arthur Wellman, Esq. Wellman & Associates




History of Miller Symposium and Presentation of Awards
Sundeep Dugar and Sheila David



Dirk Trauner, Professor of Chemistry, New York University
"Synthetic Photobiology"


Symposium Concludes

Plenary Speaker - Dirk Trauner

Professor Dirk Trauner

Dirk Trauner was born and raised in Linz, Austria, studied biology and chemistry at the University of Vienna, and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Free University, Berlin. He then pursued a PhD in chemistry under the direction of Prof. Johann Mulzer, with whom he moved to the University of Frankfurt and then back to Vienna. Following a mandatory stint in the Austrian Army, he became a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Samuel J. Danishefsky at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After two great years in New York City, Dr. Trauner joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he rose through the ranks to become an Associate Professor of chemistry (with tenure). He was also appointed as a member of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In the summer of 2008, he moved to the University of Munich, where he served as a Professor of Chemical Biology and Chemical Genetics. On March 1, 2017 he became the Janice Cutler Chair of Chemistry at New York University. He also holds a position as an Adjunct Professor of Neuroscience at the NYU Langone Medical School.

The broad objective of Prof. Trauner’s research is to demonstrate the awesome power of chemical synthesis with challenging target molecules and to use it toward the establishment of synthetic biological pathways. He is well known for his pioneering contributions to Optogenetics and Photopharmacology, using synthetic photoswitches to confer light-sensitivity to a broad range of biological targets. The chemical tools he developed are particularly useful in neuroscience and cell biology but also hold promise as precision therapeutics. Despite his extensive forays into biology and physiology Dr. Trauner remains an organic chemist at heart, as evidenced by the synthesis (and anticipation) of almost 100 natural products.

Dirk Trauner has been awarded the 2016 Emil Fischer Medal, the most prestigious award for an organic chemist in Germany and the 2016 Otto Bayer Award. He is a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is also the recipient of the Kitasato Medal, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, an ERC Advanced Grant, and the Austrian Chemical Society Award for the best thesis in 1997. He sits on the editorial board of Natural Product Reports and the editorial advisory boards of ACS Central Science and ACS Chemical Neuroscience. His students have taken positions at many leading pharmaceutical companies and universities.