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Member Spotlight: Ken Miller

Wednesday, June 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The Member Spotlight Q&A is part of an ongoing CASSS series, in which we invite members to meet other members of the CASSS Community.

This month, we turn our Member Spotlight on Ken Miller, Associate Director at AstraZeneca Global Biologics Operations and Member of the WCBP Scientific Organizing Committee and DC Scientific Discussion Group.

Q: How long have you been with your current organization and/or in your current position?

I have been with AstraZeneca since 2007, when it acquired MedImmune, where I had been working since 2004. At MedImmune, I was in the Department of Analytical Sciences in Biopharmaceutical Development. In the fall of 2017, I had the opportunity to move from MedImmune into AstraZeneca Global Biologics Operations, where I am currently.

Q: What was your motivation to volunteer with CASSS?

I have been attending CASSS meetings for almost 15 years and have been impressed by the quality. After many years of just attending CASSS meetings, I decided several years ago to volunteer my time to help with WCBP. I was particularly attracted to the highly collaborative nature of CASSS and the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of analytical scientists and regulators.

Q: Where did you grow up?

I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh. Although I went to college in Cleveland for four years, I came back to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon for graduate school. Out of the first 28 years of my life, I spent all but four of them in and around Pittsburgh. This probably explains my allegiance to Pittsburgh the Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers.

Q: What do you do to relax? Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy watching sports, such as hockey, baseball, football (American), football (rest of world), and rugby. I also enjoy trying out different local craft beers and have done a bit of dabbling in homebrewing—with two successful batches out of two attempts. Also, there is something quite relaxing about sitting at home with my wife and watching a movie while enjoying a nice Scotch with just a spritz of water to open the amazing flavor.

Q: What's your favorite type of food?

I like all kinds of food, but if I had to pick one type above all others, it would be Italian. I enjoy eggplant parmigiana and chicken parmigiana, but nothing really beats a good plate of spaghetti and meatballs with some Italian bread and a glass of red wine.

Q: Do you speak any languages besides English?

English is the only that I speak, although some might say that Pittsburghese is a language of its own.

Q: Do you have any children? Pets?

I have four children, two boys and two girls. The boys are both off at college and the girls are still at home in middle school. My wife and I did not think that life was crazy enough with four kids, so we added on to our family with dogs: two golden retrievers and a cocker spaniel that was a rescue dog.

Q: What’s your favorite type of music?

It all depends. If it is a nice sunny day and I am out driving, then some Radio Margaritaville on SiriusXM or perhaps some Bob Marley. If I want to be nostalgic and go back to my youth, then most 80s music will do. I have also been known to occasionally listen to bluegrass and blues. If it were ever to happen—which I doubt it will—watching Pink Floyd perform The Wall.

Q: What was the last movie you saw in the theater or book you read and loved?

The last movie I saw in the theater that I loved was Avengers: Infinity War. I saw it with my kids and when the movie was over, we just sat there shocked at what had happened. As far as books go, I enjoy reading Stephen King, but movies based on his books are definitely hit or miss, with The Shining (the original with Jack Nicholson), The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, and Stand by Me being several of the better ones.

Q: What famous person do you admire and why?

Roberto Clemente, who was a Hall of Fame baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a Puerto Rican baseball player in the 1950s, Clemente helped to pave the way for Latin American baseball players in much the same way as Jackie Robinson did by ending racial segregation in baseball in 1947. Clemente had the disadvantage of not only being black, but also being a Latin American player who spoke very little English. His career with the Pittsburgh Pirates was prematurely shortened when he died in the off-season in 1972 while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Q: What’s your favorite destination to travel to?

Of the places that I have been, Cape Cod is my favorite destination. My wife and I have been there several times with our kids. We have many great memories of walking on the bayside near Eastham while the tide is out and looking for hermit crabs, visiting the Chatham Fish Pier to watch the fishing boats come in with their hauls, getting fresh lobster for dinner, and swimming in the cold Atlantic Ocean on the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was a guest on the weekly podcast series “This Week in Virology” in 2014 and had an opportunity to talk about why I work in industry and my daily role at a biotechnology company.


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