Bruce Miller to Deliver UCSF Academic Senate's 12th Annual Faculty Research Lecture in Clinical Science

Bruce L. Miller, MD, professor of neurology and psychiatry at UCSF where he holds the A.W. & Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Chair, has been named the recipient of the 12th Annual Faculty Research Lectureship in Clinical Science for his legacy-building work on frontotemporal dementia and related disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Bruce L. Miller, MD

Bruce L. Miller, MD

Since 2001, this award has been bestowed by the Academic Senate to an individual member of the UCSF faculty with outstanding achievements in clinical research. Miller's lecture, titled “Frontotemporal Dementia: An Understudied But Important Disorder,” will take place on Monday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m. in Genentech Hall, UCSF Mission Bay campus. The event will be simulcast and a reception will follow. The lecture is open to the campus community and the general public.  

Miller’s pioneering work shows how the degeneration of particular networks in the frontal and temporal lobes leads to specific behavioral symptoms in dementia, and he has linked clinical phenotypes to the various genetic and pathological variants. His research has provided exceptional insights into the neural underpinnings of apathy, disinhibition, empathy, emotion recognition and repetitive motor behaviors. He has delineated the roles of the frontal and temporal lobes in social, artistic and emotional behaviors and shown how the traits of creativity, wisdom and altruism improve with age.

A strong proponent of the value of clinical history, frontal executive testing and neuroimaging in the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), it was Miller who first demonstrated the value of emotion and personality testing to differentiate FTD from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). His research showed that the orbital frontal and anterior temporal regions are key to one’s ability to perceive emotions in others’ faces and voices, and that loss of function in those areas may lead to the perception that the patient has lost the ability to empathize. 

A superb educator and engaging speaker, Miller often shares his scientific and clinical knowledge outside the university setting by lecturing to audiences from all walks of life. He is a powerful advocate for the human treatment for dementia patients and often quoted in the media. He currently is the director of the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF, which is funded through the State of California, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, amongst others, and he is the principal investigator of the NIH-sponsored Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), NIH-sponsored program project grant on frontotemporal dementia and two privately-funded consortia.

Miller has received numerous accolades including the Potamkin Award from the American Academy of Neurology, the Raymond Adams Lecture at the American Neurological Association, and the Elliot Royer Award from the San Francisco Neurological community.

Since 2001, this award has been bestowed on an individual member of the UCSF faculty with outstanding achievements in clinical research. Nominations are made by UCSF faculty, who consider the clinical research contributions of their colleagues and submit nominations for this prestigious award to the Academic Senate Committee on Research. Each year, the Committee on Research selects the recipient of this award. 

A list of the past recipients of the award can be viewed online.