Louis Howard Miller, M.D., B.S., M.S.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Malaria Cell Biology Section


TW3 Building, Room 3E32
12735 Twinbrook Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20852



Research Topics

The study of the pathogenesis of malaria includes research on the mechanism by which malaria parasites invade erythrocytes, including the study of parasite ligands and erythrocyte receptors; the mechanism of antigenic variation; the molecular basis for cerebral malaria and rosetting; and the binding of var gene products to endothelium.

Major accomplishments include the following: Duffy blood group antigen is receptor for Plasmodium vivax; Duffy blood group antigen is the chemokine receptor; the molecular definition of the ligand and receptor for P. vivax; the molecular definition of the ligand and receptor for Plasmodium falciparum; the molecular basis of antigenic variation and the identification of the ligand for binding chondroitin sulfate A in placenta.

Future directions include the study of the different pathways for invasion of erythrocytes, including the sialic acid-independent pathway; virulence factors in P. falciparum; identifying recombinant proteins for vaccines that will block invasion and block cytoadherence to placenta; and molecular mechanism of antigenic variation.


Dr. Miller received his B.S. from Haverford College in Pennsylvania; his M.S. from Columbia University; and his M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. He then served as a medical resident at Montifiore Hospital, New York, and as an intern and resident at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. In 2011, he received the Walter Reed Medal for distinguished accomplishment in the field of tropical medicine from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


Walter Reed Medal, Presidential Award, Paul Ehrlich Prize, Sixth Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Infectious Diseases Research, Comonwealth Award, Haverford College Humanitarian Award.

Selected Publications

  1. Gunalan K, Sá JM, Moraes Barros RR, Anzick SL, Caleon RL, Mershon JP, Kanakabandi K, Paneru M, Virtaneva K, Martens C, Barnwell JW, Ribeiro JM, Miller LH. Transcriptome profiling of Plasmodium vivax in Saimiri monkeys identifies potential ligands for invasion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(14):7053-7061.
  2. Gunalan K, Niangaly A, Thera MA, Doumbo OK, Miller LH. Plasmodium vivax Infections of Duffy-Negative Erythrocytes: Historically Undetected or a Recent Adaptation? Trends Parasitol. 2018;34(5):420-429.
  3. Niangaly A, Karthigayan Gunalan, Amed Ouattara, Coulibaly D, Sá JM, Adams M, Travassos MA, Ferrero J, Laurens MB, Kone AK, Thera MA, Plowe CV, Miller LH, Doumbo OK. Plasmodium vivax Infections over 3 Years in Duffy Blood Group Negative Malians in Bandiagara, Mali. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017;97(3):744-752.
  4. Gunalan K, Lo E, Hostetler JB, Yewhalaw D, Mu J, Neafsey DE, Yan G, Miller LH. Role of Plasmodium vivax Duffy-binding protein 1 in invasion of Duffy-null Africans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016;113(22):6271-6.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, July 23, 2019