Freda D. Miller


Contact via Hospital for Sick Children


Key Research Areas
Associated Researchers
Associated Organizations

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Recent Research Projects

From stem cells to circuitry: building and rebuilding the mammalian nervous system

2015/16-2019/20 • $3,552,759 • PI
Overarching goal. Many mammalian tissues, including the brain, contain resident stem cells that build these tissues developmentally and maintain and/or repair them in adulthood. The biology of these tissue stem cells is determined by the interplay between cues they encounter in their environment...

Acting at a distance: cerebellar tumor mechanisms that disrupt cognitive development

2017/18-2019/20 • $135,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Advances in cancer treatments have greatly increased the survival of childhood brain cancer patients. Unfortunately, childhood cancer survivors often experience long-term deficits in their cognitive function that can affect their quality of life. While the radiation required for treatment can...

Investigating translational mechanisms that regulate neuronal subtype specification in the developing mammalian brain

2018/19-2019/20 • $52,500 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Congenital brain defects and neurodevelopmental disorders are highly common, afflicting the individual, their loved ones, and the wider community. These disorders, particularly autism, are frequently due to errors in the process of neuronal subtype specification that occur during fetal brain...

The role of mesenchymal tissues in the establishment of the blastema and their contribution to mammalian digit tip regeneration

2019/20 • $41,667 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Some animals, such as newts and lizards display a remarkable ability to regenerate parts of their body. In mammals, however, this ability has been lost, with one exception; in both mice and humans, true multi-tissue regeneration occurs when you injure your fingertip. The process of regeneration...

Understanding the processes that dictate excitatory versus inhibitory neuronal cell fate specification from cortically derived neural stem cells

2019/20 • $35,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Neural stem cells (NSCs) are brain cells that have the potential to make all neural cell types in the brain such as neurons or glial cells. The recruitment of endogenous NSCs for neurological repair is a promising area of biomedicine that is currently being investigated as a therapeutic strategy...

Developmental Neurobiology

2011/12-2018/19 • $1,400,000 • PI
My research program focuses on determining how cells in the mammalian nervous system differentiate, survive, and establish connections during development, and using this information to try and develop therapeutic strategies for treating the damaged or degenerating nervous system. Within this...

Defining the role of schwann cell precursors in neural repair.

2015/16-2018/19 • $135,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease whereby the progressive degeneration and death of motoneurons ultimately results in paralysis due to loss of muscle control. Recent research has led to findings that indicate that the region where motoneurons connect to muscles, known...

Investigating the Role of Neural Crest Precursors in Tissue Regeneration

2016/17-2017/18 • $105,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Millions of patients in North America suffer annually from traumatic injuries or diseases requiring interventional therapies to repair the affected organ tissues. Increasing evidence suggests that tissue maintenance and repair are mediated by resident stem cells that reside throughout the body....

Epigenetic regulation of cortex development by Ankrd11

2014/15-2016/17 • $135,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Increasing evidence suggests that alterations to normal stem cell functions during brain development may cause cognitive dysfunctions associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Epigenetics is also proving to play a role in neurodevelopment and is becoming an intensely investigated research...

Skin-derived precursors: their role in tissue maintenance, repair and regeneration

2011/12-2015/16 • $638,427 • PI
We now know that most mammalian tissues contain adult stem cells that are capable of generating the cell types present in that tissue. In addition, increasing evidence indicates that these adult stem cells play key roles in the maintenance, repair and regeneration of those tissues, and that when...

Developmental dysgenesis of the mammalian brain: underlying mechanisms

2012/13-2015/16 • $373,370 • PI,CO
Genetic or environmental alterations that lead to abnormal development of the human brain have been implicated in disorders ranging from intellectual disability to autism. While a significant amount of work is now focused in this area, we still have little understanding of the causes of these...

CIHR Training Program in Regenerative Medicine

2010/11-2014/15 • $1,625,000 • PI,CO
Organ failure is a pervasive medical problem that results in immense personal and economic costs, morbidity, and death. At present, the only truly effective treatment for organ failure is transplantation. The deficiencies of this option are increasingly apparent, and include a chronic shortage...

Aging and degeneration in the mammalian nervous system: role of the p53 family

2010/11-2014/15 • $906,685 • PI,CO
The mechanisms that maintain the integrity and function of the mammalian brain for an entire lifetime are still poorly understood. We have recently identified a gene, p73, that when mutated, causes nervous system degeneration and age-dependent cognitive decline. In this project, we are asking...

Molecular pathways regulating long-term maintenance of adult stem cells

2011/12-2014/15 • $131,667 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Increasing evidence indicates that tissue repair and regeneration are mediated, at least in part, by adult stem cells, and that the negative effects of aging are due to reduced function of these stem cell populations. However, the molecular factors that promote maintenance and longevity of adult...

Stem cells to treat spinal cord injury

2010/11-2013/14 • $1,732,962 • PI,CO
Each year, approximately 1000 Canadians sustain an acute traumatic spinal cord injury and join close to 40,000 paralyzed individuals across our nation who endure one of the most physically and psychologically devastating of injuries. We have recently shown that two novel populations of stem...

Developmental dysgenesis of the mammalian brain: underlying mechanisms

2010/11-2012/13 • $348,385 • PI,CO
Genetic or environmental alterations that lead to abnormal brain development have been implicated in disorders ranging from mental retardation to autism. Here, we are investigating the underlying causes of this abnormal brain development with the idea that perturbations in the timing and numbers...

Signaling pathways regulating neuronal growth

2010/11-2012/13 • $342,480 • PI,CO
During development, we are born with twice as many neurons as we will eventually have as adults. Half of the neurons will be eliminated in a process analogous to a how a sculptor would shape a mound of clay into an exquisite work of art. In this period, neurons extend processes or axons to...

Epigenetic Regulation of Cortical Interneuron and Oligodendrocyte Development

2010/11-2012/13 • $105,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
The ventral forebrain generates two major cell types - cortical interneurons and oligodendrocytes. Dysregulated development of these two cell types are implicated in several major disorders of the nervous system, including epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia. Thus, understanding how they develop...

Canada Research Chair in Developmental Neurobiology

2010/11-2011/12 • $350,000 • PI
My research program focuses on determining how cells in the mammalian nervous system differentiate, survive, and establish connections during development, and on using this information to try and develop therapeutic strategies for treating the damaged or degenerating adult nervous system. Within...

SKPs, neural crest-related adult dermal stem cells: Biological roles and therapeutic utility

2010/11-2011/12 • $157,256 • PI
Adult stem cells have attracted considerable interest both because of their therapeutic potential and because of the insights they provide into the normal biology of the adult mammalian tissues. We have previously identified, isolated and characterized SKPs (for SKin-derived Precursors), a...

Shared Flow Cytometry Facility

2010/11-2011/12 • $109,224 • PI,CO
not applicable to the registration application

The role of RNA-localization and post-transcriptional gene regulation in the establishment of neuronal polarity and function

2010/11-2011/12 • $73,333 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Mature neurons contain distinct regions, or compartments, responsible for their function. Much research has been devoted to determining how these features form. It is becoming apparent that the different compartments of the developing neuron require unique populations of proteins, the primary...

The role of FOXP2 in cortical development and vocalization behaviour

2010/11 • $6,667 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
While a number of genes have now been defined that convey susceptibility to autism, the mechanisms underlying their effects are as of yet unknown. We have hypothesized that mutations in these genes perturb the initial stages of brain development, when the different cell types of the nervous...

Patents

METHODS OF MAKING AND USING SKIN-DERIVED STEM CELLS

The present invention describes a method for isolating skin derived precurso r stem cells from hair follicles or dermal papillae and also describes the use of these cells for inducing hair growth.
Related applications: WO2005CA00108, EP20050706434, CA20052554732

CANCER STEM CELLS AND USES THEREOF

Disclosed are enriched preparations of neuroblastoma tumor initiating cells (NB TICs). The NB TICs are capable of self-renewal, initiating neuroblastoma tumor growth in
Related applications: WO2006US61204, CA20062630613

SKIN-DERIVED PRECURSOR CELLS AND USES THEREOF

The invention features methods of inducing hair follicle formation in a m ammal by transplantation of skin-derived precursors (SKPs) and keratinocytes into the skin of the mammal. The invention also features compositions and k its including SKPs and keratinocytes. In other aspects, the invention featur es methods for producing dermal sheets from SKPs, methods for using such she ets and dermal sheets produced by SKPs.
Related applications: EP20080757235, CA20082689484, WO2008CA01104

COMPOSITIONS FOR PROLIFERATION OF CELLS AND RELATED METHODS

We have discovered that p63 inhibition results in increased cellular proliferation. We have also performed a screen for agents capable of increasing cellular proliferation, (e.g., of stem cells such as skin-derived precursors (SKPs)). The invention therefore invention provides compositions, methods, and kits for increasing proliferation of cells, using compounds that decrease p63 expression or activity or using the compounds described herein. The invention also features methods of using...
Related applications: CA20092738496, WO2009US58723

COMPOSITIONS FOR PROLIFERATION OF CELLS AND RELATED METHODS

We have discovered that p63 inhibition results in increased cellular proliferation. We have also performed a screen for agents capable of increasing cellular proliferation, (e.g., of stem cells such as skin-derived precursors (SKPs)). The invention therefore invention provides compositions, methods, and kits for increasing proliferation of cells, using compounds that decrease p63 expression or activity or using the compounds described herein. The invention also features methods of using...
Related applications: WO2011US45416, CA20112806427, EP20110815085

COMPOSITIONS AND METHODS FOR ENHANCING HAIR GROWTH, PROMOTING SKIN REGENERATION, AND WOUND HEALING

The invention relates to compositions and methods useful for enhancing hair growth and promoting skin regeneration. Particularly, the invention provides topical compositions including trimebutine, salts, or active metabolites thereof, for enhancing or inducing hair growth and promoting skin regeneration. Compositions comprising trimebutine or a pharmaceutically acceptable salt or active metabolite thereof and their use in the method of promoting hair growth or skin regeneration. Preferably...
Related applications: EP20150845138, CA20153000117, WO2015CA50966