Dr. Lance Miller

Obituary of Dr. Lance D. Miller

Lance Delano Miller, a scientist and philosopher, died unexpectedly on January 24, 2022, at the age of 44 while in Washington, D.C.

Lance is survived by his wife, Colleen Alaimo; mother, Debbie Miller; grandmother, Mozell Hull; sister, Rebecca Mullican (Bryce); brother, Bruce Miller (Cindy); nephews, Ayden Miller, Dean Mullican, and Quinn Mullican; and niece, Alice Mullican, along with an uncle, aunts, and cousins.

Lance was born on May 26, 1977, to Randall and Debbie Miller in Jackson, Mississippi. As a young boy, Lance gave his heart to Jesus. This decision shaped many of his actions throughout his life. After completing Murrah High School in Jackson, he attended college at Mississippi State University where, in 1999, he graduated with honors with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Philosophy. At Mississippi State University, he was a member of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society. Lance was awarded the Willie & Jesse Thames Scholarship, Freshman Four-Year Academic Scholarship, Dean’s Academy Achievement, and Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant while at Mississippi State University. 

Lance continued his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, where he received the Presidential Scholarship Award. In 2007 he graduated with a Ph.D., with a major in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry. At Georgia Tech, Lance was mentored by Dr. Igor Zhulin and Dr. Gladys Alexandre. Their collaboration resulted in the following publications:

Miller, L.D., Russell, M.H., and Alexandre, G. Diversity in Bacterial Chemotactic Responses and Niche Adaptation. Advances in Applied Microbiology. (2009) 66, 53-75.            

Miller, L.D., Yost, C.K., Hynes, M.F. and Alexandre, G. The major chemotaxis gene cluster of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae is essential for competitive nodulation.  Molecular Microbiology. (2007) 63(2), 348-362.

Following graduation, Lance completed a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Lance collaborated with Dr. Mircea Podar at Oak Ridge, which resulted in following publication:

Miller, L.D., Mosher, J.J., Venkateswaren, A., Yang, Z.K., Palumbo, A.V., Phelps, T.J., Podar, M., Schadt, C.W., and Keller, M. Establishment and Metabolic Analysis of a Model Microbial Community for Understanding Trophic and Electron Accepting Interactions of Subsurface Anaerobic Environments. BMC Microbiology. (2010) 10(149).

After completing his post doc, Lance wanted to work at the intersection of the scientific frontier and public policy. Lance wanted to positively impact public policy by applying his research, strategic thinking, problem solving, and communication skills to scientific issues. It was important to Lance that policy decisions were made based upon the most accurate scientific information. Lance moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a project manager, editor, and consultant. In Washington D.C., Lance met and married Colleen Alaimo. Lance wrote the following publications while in D.C.:

What’s in a Wall? Security, Economics, Human Rights, and Conservation on the U.S.-Mexico Border - Session Report - Science Diplomacy 2017. Mar 29, 2017 AAAS

Cybersecurity: Multilateral Relations and our National Security - Session Report - Science Diplomacy 2017. Mar 29, 2017 AAAS

Lance was preceded in death by his father, Randall L. Miller; grandfather, Zern Miller; grandmother, Laura Miller Sypult; grandfather, William Porter Hull, Sr.; and, his uncle, Kirby Miller.

Lance enjoyed spending time with his family, reading, collecting books, and cooking. Those who knew him will always fondly remember him reading, with the flick of a pen and underlining important phrases, but only in the paperback books. They will always remember his irreverent sense of humor, his tilted head, his raised eyebrow, his smile, his compassion for those less fortunate, and his kindness to animals.

Memorial service will be held at a later date.

If you wish to make a charitable donation, please send gifts in Lance’s memory to:

MSU Foundation

PO Box 6149

Attention Sara Fredrick

Mississippi State, MS 39762

Or online at 



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