McGovern Medical School

Rachel Miller
Contact Info

Academic Office
(713) 500-6537

Assistant Professor

Education & Background

Graduate School
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
Postdoctoral Fellowship
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
2007-2012; Instructor 2012-2013


Research Interests
Our studies focus on how Wnt signaling modulates cell shape and organization to facilitate the formation of tubules. We utilize frog (Xenopus) embryonic kidneys and mammalian cultured cells as models. Cells perceive their orientation within a tissue through a specific Wnt signaling pathway called planar cell polarity (PCP). Our studies focus on how PCP components with cytoskeletal roles regulate tubulogenesis. Cystic kidneys are the most common feature of a group of genetic diseases known as ciliopathies. They result from defects in the primary cilia projecting into nephron lumens. Primary cilia act as cellular antennae, orchestrating cellular signaling and orienting cells through PCP. We are interested in the role of PCP and primary cilia in shaping nephric tubules.


Lyons JP, Miller RK, Zhou X, Weidinger G, Deroo T, Denayer T, Park JI, Ji H, Hong JY, Li A, Moon RT, Jones EA, Vleminckx K, Vize PD, McCrea PD. Requirement of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in pronephric kidney development. Mech Dev 126(3-4):142-59, Mar-Apr, 3/2009. e-Pub 12/2008. PMCID: PMC2684468.

Miller RK, McCrea PD. Wnt to build a tube: contributions of Wnt signaling to epithelial tubulogenesis. Dev Dyn 239(1):77-93, 1/2010. PMCID: PMC3437621.

Miller RK, Canny SG, Jang CW, Cho K, Ji H, Wagner DS, Jones EA, Habas R, McCrea PD. Pronephric tubulogenesis requires Daam1-mediated planar cell polarity signaling. J Am Soc Nephrol 22(9):1654-64, 9/2011. e-Pub 7/2011. PMCID: PMC3171937.

Miller RK, Hong JY, Munoz WA, McCrea PD. “The other catenins: challenging our current view of canonical Wnt signaling.” Molecular biology of the cadherin and catenin superfamilies, Editor: Frans van Roy. Series: Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science, Editor-in-Chief: P. Michael Conn. 2013;116:387-407. PMCID: PMC3752792.

Chang DR, Alanis DM, Miller RK, Akiyama H, McCrea PD, Chen J. “Lung epithelial branching program antagonizes alveolar differentiation.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Nov 5; 110(45):18042-51. Epub 2013 Sep 20. PMCID: PMC3831485.

Miller RK, Lee M, McCrea PD. Chapter 12: “The Xenopus Pronephros: A Kidney Model Making Leaps toward Understanding Tubule Development.” Xenopus Development. Editors: M. Kloc and J. Z. Kubiak. Wiley and Sons, Oxford. May, 2014.

DeLay BD, Krneta-Stankic V, Miller RK. Technique to Target Microinjection to the Developing Xenopus J Vis Exp. 2016 May 3; (111). PMID: 27168375.

Krneta-Stankic V, DeLay BD, Miller RK. Xenopus: leaping forward in kidney organogenesis. Pediatr Nephrol. 2016 Apr 21. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27099217.



Lab Information

Graduate Student(s):

Postdoctoral Research Fellow(s):

Undergraduate Student(s):

  • Hannah Hanania, Rice University, 713-500-5944

Animal Attendant(s):