Faculty Highlight – Dr. McMillan grew up on a small farm in Illinois, where she acquired her interest in toxicology. She pursued this interest at Texas A&M University, where she received her doctorate in toxicology in 1987. She subsequently held two post-doctoral fellowships, first at the National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Arkansas, then at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston. After completing her post-doctoral work at MUSC, she continued on as a faculty member in the Pharmacology Department. Her research interests there were in mechanisms of drug and environmental chemical-mediated liver injury and liver cancer. While at MUSC, she directed graduate courses in Environmental Biology, Basic Toxicology, and Organ Systems Toxicology for environmental studies and environmental toxicology students.
Dr. McMillan came to UNMC in 2007, and at the request of Dr. Eleanor Rogan, chair of the COPH Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, assumed directorship of the Principles of Toxicology and the Advanced Toxicology courses in the department. She serves on the dissertation committees of several students in the COPH and the College of Medicine (COM). Dr. McMillan’s primary appointment at UNMC is in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience. There she is working with Dr. Howard Gendelman as a coordinator for his research program on the development of long-acting nanoformulations of antiretroviral therapeutic drugs for the treatment of HIV infection. The development of long-acting nanoformulations of these drugs would simplify drug dosing regimens, extend dosing intervals, reduce unwanted drug side effects, and improve drug penetration into viral sanctuary sites, thus reducing development of drug resistance. Dr. McMillan also collaborates with Dr. David McMillan in the UNMC COM Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience on research to develop a macrophage-based assay to determine whether drugs will cause an adverse response known as hemolytic anemia. This response is characterized by premature removal of chemically damaged red blood cells from the circulation, which in some individuals can result in life-threatening anemia. As a coordinator of these laboratory programs, Dr. McMillan enjoys working with high school and undergraduate students who are interested in gaining laboratory-based experience in research.
JoEllyn M. McMillan, PhD, is an assistant professor in the UNMC COPH Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health and the College of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.