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Daniel James Miller

Ph.D. Candidate
Research Area: Neuroscience

Organization and Plasticity of Primate Sensory Systems

Daniel J. Miller is a Doctoral Candidate in the Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Dan completed training in Philosophy and Primate Behavior (B.A. Saint Louis University), as well as Evolutionary Neuroanatomy (M.A. George Washington University). Dan’s original research into the evolution of brain development, comparing the trajectory of neocortical myelination in humans, chimpanzees and prosimian primates has been featured in PNAS Science sessions: What makes us human (Jan 2013), Neurology Today: How does myelination maturation affect thought and behavior? (Nov 2012), The Lancet Neurology (Oct 2012), ScienceDaily and ScienceNOW (Sep 2012). Dan has also published a book chapter, “Evolution  and Development of Language”, in Advances in Evolutionary Developmental Biology (2013). Additional published work includes a research article and a review paper comparing quantitative approaches to determining the cellular composition of the brain. More recently, Dan’s research has expanded to include the sensorimotor system in primates, utilizing quantitative approaches to understanding the plasticity of the somatosensory system in cases of congenital deformation and following trauma to the spinal cord, as well as exploring the physiological organization of higher-order brain areas necessary to coordinate complex movements.


Representative Publications

2016. Liao CC, Qi H, Reed JL, Miller DJ, Kaas JH. Congenital foot deformation alters the topographic organization in the primate somatosensory system. Brain Structure and Function. Jan; 221(1):383-406.

2015. Cooke DF, Stepniewska I, Miller DJ, Kaas JH, Krubitzer L. Reversible Deactivation of Motor Cortex Reveals Functional Connectivity with Posterior Parietal Cortex in the Prosimian Galago (Otolemur garnetti). J Neurosci. Oct 21;35(42)14406-22. 

2015. Herculano-Houzel S, von Bartheld CS, Miller DJ, Kaas JH. How to count cells: the advantages and disadvantages of the isotropic fractionator compared with stereology. Cell Tissue Res. April; 360(1):29-42.

2014. Miller DJ, Balaram P, Young NA, Kaas JH. Three counting methods agree on cell and neuron number in chimpanzee primary visual cortex. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy. 8:36. Doi: 10.3389/fnana.2014.00036.

2013. Miller DJ, Konopka G. Evolution and Development of Language. In: Advances in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. J. Streelman (ed), Wiley Publishing

2013. Miller DJ, Lackey EP, Hackett TA, Kaas JH. Development of myelination and cholinergic innervation in the central auditory system of a prosimian primate (Otolemur garnetti). J Comp Neurol. 521(16):3804-16.

2012. Miller DJ, Duka T, Stimpson CD, Schapiro SJ, Baze WB, McArthur MJ, Fobbs AJ, Sousa AM, Sestan N, Wildman DE, Lipovich L, Kuzawa CW, Hof PR, Sherwood CC. Prolonged myelination in human neocortical evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109(41):16480-5.


2016-2017: Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning Graduate Fellowship

2016: PI, Kaas JH; MGR, Miller DJ; "Learning Anatomy through Digital Platforms;" Vanderbilt University Institute for Digital Learning

2015: PI Miller DJ; "Quantitative Analysis of the Structural Organization of the Visual System in Primates;" Graduate Student Summer Research Award, Vanderbilt University

2014-2016: National Eye Institue Training Grant Appointee, Vanderbilt University

2013: PNAS Science Sessions: What makes us human?

2012: Neurology Today: How does myelination maturation affect thought and behavior?

2010: PI Miller DJ; Co-PI Todd M. Preuss; "CA2 Distribution: Brain Connectivity and Plasticity in Human Evolution;" The Lewis Cotlow Award, Department of Anthropology, George Washington University. 

2007: Dean's List and Magna cum laude, Saint Louis University