Chemist A.F. Miller Wins 2019 Lyons Award


Prof. Anne-Frances Miller has been named the 2019 recipient of the William E. Lyons Award, co-sponsored by the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences. This award is given each year to an individual associated with the university who has given outstanding service to UK, the community or the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The award is named in honor of William (Bill) E. Lyons, former professor of political science and public administrator, who during his tenure at UK, also served as director of the Martin School and chair of the Department of Political Science. Lyons, who died in 1994, is credited with crafting the charter which created a merged government for Lexington and Fayette County in the early 1970s.

Miller is a professor in the Department of Chemistry. After earning a doctoral degree in biophysical chemistry at Yale University, she did postdoctoral work in bioinorganic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and nuclear magnetic resonance at Brandeis University.

At UK, Prof Miller has been at the helm of the nuclear magnetic resonance facility that serves six academic units and 10 departments. She has also taught seven different courses, while maintaining a funded research group that studies mechanisms of redox active enzymes to learn from nature how to better obtain and deploy energy. This work has had support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Petroleum Research Foundation (ACS) and the National Institutes of Health.

"Miller stands out — even when compared to all the faculty members I have known at four different universities and research institutions. Miller is a world-class researcher, with an international reputation for scholarship and innovation," Edith Glazer, chair of the awards committee for the chemistry department, said. "Miller is an enthusiastic and caring mentor, and most of all, she is a citizen profoundly committed to the concept of social responsibility, on the level of her department, college, university, scientific community and the greater community of this Commonwealth."

Prof Miller is a dedicated teacher — always striving to find new ways to engage and transform the next generation. She has served as the department faculty outreach coordinator and has designed many personal outreach activities. Miller was recently elected president of the Division of Biological Chemistry in the American Chemical Society, a division which consists of approximately 6,000 members. She has also been recognized as a vocal advocate for diversity in science. Prof Miller is committed to making science and its excitement accessible to all. Hence her many engagements with local schools. “In my 28 years of teaching, I’ve never felt so strongly about a nominee I’ve recommended. Miller deserves this award for her total involvement with science and the promotion of it, both in the university setting and in the community,” Susan Powers, a teacher at Winburn Middle School, said.

Miller's goal is for communities to benefit from the wonder and power of truth, which has only become more important as we face limits on our planet's ability to support our lifestyle. "How she manages to teach classes at all levels, run an active and NSF-funded research laboratory, serve as director of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Center, perform outreach activities at local schools, visit her congressman to make the case for support of funding for science — is amazing,” Steve Yates, former chair of the chemistry department, said.

Pictured below with Prof Miller is colleague Prof Edith "Phoebe" Glazer who prepared Miller's nomination for the award.




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