Jack Miller

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Jack Miller

Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested in the physics of biological systems. My work predominantly uses Nuclear Magnetic Resonance techniques to probe the fundamental thermodynamics that energetically power life, known in a biological context as metabolism. I predominantly use a new and emerging technique, known as Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation, to overcome the fundamental limitation of the thermal equilibrium Boltzmann distribution that traditionally has severely limited the achievable signal-to-noise ratio and hence resolution of non-proton Magnetic Resonance techniques in an in vivo biological setting.

By imaging the rate of interconversion of [1-13C]pyruvate, the collaborators I work with and I are able to directly image several chemical reactions whose rates are changed in diseases such as cancer, heart failure, and stroke, as well as being of interest for fundamental biology. The technique is transitioning to the clinic, with Oxford being one of a few sites worldwide that have access to the wide range of skills and equipment necessary to perform early proof-of-prinicple experiments on man. I additionally have side-interests in using quantitatively rigorous techniques to analyse the datasets that DNP generates, and also more generally mathematical biology and statistical approaches as applied to medical problems in general. I hope to update my personal page with useful technical material relating to Varian/Agilent spectrometers shortly.

The techniques I developed during my DPhil resulted in the award of several local, national, and international prizes. My external examiner described my DPhil thesis as being `in both its scope, presentation, and content one of the best, if not the very best, PhD theses I have ever encountered during my several decades of experience as an external examiner.

For more up-to-date information (including a full list of publications and source code), see my personal website.

I am employed as a stipendiary lecturer at St. Hugh's, and therefore teach a fair amount of the undergraduate course in physics, as well as a few quantitative subjects in other departments. A brief list of my teaching experience is below.

  • CP1, CP3, CP4: Special-relativity, classical mechanics, optics and electromagnetism for first year undergraduate Physicists, St. Hugh’s College, 2015 —
  • A2: Electromagnetism for second year undergraduate Physicists, St. Hugh’s College, 2015 —
  • B1 Biophysics tutor for third year undergraduate Physicists, 2011 —
  • Mathematics and Statistics departmental tutor for first year undergraduate Biochemistry, 2012 —
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging to first year graduate students, 2012-14
  • Oxford-Nottingham Biomedical Imaging Doctoral Training Centre Magnetic Resonance Courses, 2015-16