Neal Miller

100 Year Anniversary

Rockefeller University Obituaries

Neal Miller, a pioneer in thefield of neuroscience who in1965 received the U.S. NationalMedal of Science, the nation’shighest award for scientificachievement, died March 23 inHamden, Connecticut. Millerwas 92. He was a member ofthe Rockefeller faculty from1966 to 1988.Miller was best known for hisonce-unorthodox theory that thebody’s so-called “involuntary”functions, such as heart rate, canbe controlled in the same way asvoluntary functions. His researchchallenged the assumption thatvoluntary actions were the solefunctions under our control.Miller trained laboratory animalsand humans to control heartbeat,blood flow and other visceraland glandular activities, and heapplied his theories clinically tosuch disorders as hypotension,hypertension and scoliosis.He also made important contributionsto the fields of physiologicalpsychology and the evolution oflearning theory.His work influencedgenerations of researchers.Alfred E. Mirsky Professor BruceS. McEwen, head of the Haroldand Margaret Milliken HatchLaboratory of Neuroendocrinology,who began his Rockefeller careeras an assistant professor in Miller’slab, recalls his superb teachingabilities. “He strongly encouragedand supported me as a youngscientist in my studies of stressand sex hormone actions in thebrain, and his lab provided awonderful environment for meto learn about behavioral science.Neal was one of thefounders of behavioral medicineand strongly influenced me overthe years to apply basic researchknowledge about stress hormoneactions to a better understandingof human health and disease.”

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