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Kenneth Miller Laboratory

Lab Location/ Complete Address:

E553, E461

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

1111 West 17th Street

Tulsa, OK 74107


Lab Lead Contact:

Kenneth E. Miller, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Anatomy and Cell Biology



Lab Personnel:

Michael Anderson, A.B. - Technician

Mathura Sutharshan, M.S. - Research Associate

Ruben Schechter, M.D. - Investigator

Kenneth E. Miller, Ph.D. - Investigator

Zijia Zhang, B.S. - Ph.D. candidate

Yinka Ibitokun, M.B.Ch.B. - Ph.D. candidate

Heith Crosby, B.S., Pharm.D. - Ph.D. candidate

Ting Wang, M.S. - Ph.D. student

Brittany Bolt, B.S., M.S. - Ph.D. student

Shaima Alothman, B.S. - M.S. student




Research Description:

My research effort has focused on evaluating glutamate metabolism in spinal systems during injury, inflammatory, and pain conditions. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, but the production and degradation of glutamate is poorly understood in the peripheral nervous system. My research has been carried out in three areas: 1. Primary sensory neurons under painful, inflammatory and neuropathic conditions. 2. Spinal processing of inflammatory nociceptive information from viscera and somatic structures. 3. Response of neurons to spinal injury and CNS inflammation.

Pain is a debilitating complication of chronic inflammation and nerve injury and chronic pain is difficult to treat for long periods of time. We demonstrated that the glutamine cycle, a CNS enzyme system for production and degradation of glutamate, is present in the peripheral nervous system. We showed that chronic inflammation causes long-term increases in glutaminase and glutamate levels in primary sensory neurons and their peripheral nerve fibers. Increased glutamate production in peripheral nerve fibers is responsible, in part, for painful responses observed in chronic inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis. We determined that peripheral inhibition of glutaminase provides long-lasting pain relief in animals with chronic inflammation.

Three patents have been issued from our work: # 7,288,246; #7,504,231; # 7,714,007.


Instrument and Technique Specialties:

Immunohistochemistry, image analysis, immunoblotting, cell culture, electron microscopy


Funding Sources

National Institutes of Health

Our Contact Details

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Our Mission:

To develop bioscience research in Tulsa and to position Tulsa to be a leader in bioscience education, training, research and innovation by utilizing the assets of all area institutions of higher education.