Dr. Sean James Miller, a renowned neuroscientist with well over 1000 scientific citations, is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Pluripotent Diagnostics Corp. (PDx).
A researcher with experience and insight, the doctoral degree holder from the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Sean James has a career spanning more than 13 years. Over the years, he has successfully transformed the lives of thousands of patients by introducing advanced technologies in stem cell and neurodegenerative medicine.
PDx is focused on early disease diagnostics for aging-associated neurodegenerative disorders, beginning with ALS genetic screening with results in 5-7 days, and longitudinal comprehensive client biological analyses on an annual subscription or as deemed necessary.
PDx ships sterile FDA-approved cotton swabs for easy nasal or oral cavity sampling for their clients. Upon return to PDx, they perform a computational and genetic disease classifier analyses to detect ALS associated genes at an affordable price.
Due to the majority of ALS patients having sporadic etiology, they will sequence annually with their subscription service to detect for any de novo or spontaneous mutations that arise during life.
The Inspiring Story of the Visionary
Dr. Sean James was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, at the time it was statistically one of the country’s poorest
and most dangerous cities. In studies, Sean was excellent but after school, he used to execute illegal behaviours in the evening for money. Due to this, he was expelled from school and sent to maximum security juvenile detention. Sean did the majority of his secondary schooling in a Pennsylvania’s “Alternative Education” program for students deemed an issue to society.
In Sean’s senior year, he returned to public high school because of his academic capabilities and promise. During this eventful year, Sean had his first child, Yasmine Elizabeth Miller, worked >30 hours per week at Target Corp., maintained exceptional grades in advance placement courses, and finally got admission to Drexel University on a Dean’s Scholarship in the Organismal Physiology Bachelor degree program.
Within the first year at Drexel, Sean held >3.75 GPA and was accepted into the Students Tackling Advanced Research (STAR) program at the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel to conduct molecular research to understand the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease under the mentorship of Dr. Aleister Saunders. Sean genetically engineered fruit flies to recapitulate Alzheimer’s disease pathology including dementia. This model is being utilized for drug screening for Alzheimer’s disease. His contributions have led to several internationally peer-reviewed publications. In three accelerated years, Sean graduated from Drexel and moved to Boston to further his research on Alzheimer’s disease at Harvard Medical School.
At Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Sean continued in the neurogenetics division on Alzheimer’s disease under the mentorship of Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi. During this time, Sean advanced the therapeutic and biomolecular comprehension of neurodegeneration. His contributions led to several authored manuscripts in journals including two in Science. With the knowledge and experience Sean obtained at Harvard, he felt more passionate about finding a cure for neurodegeneration.
In 2013, Sean matriculated into Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the doctoral program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Sean performed his doctoral studies in the Department of Neurology and the Brain Science Institute under the mentorship of Dr Jeffrey D. Rothstein. Sean was awarded prestigious funding opportunities such as a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship, seven first-author manuscripts, co-authorships, and holds an international patent on the modulation of neurons in neurological disorders. At this time it became a greater pivotal point in Sean’s life… Sean was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
In 2018, Sean moved to Silicon Valley to pursue his Post-Doctoral studies at Stanford University School of Medicine in Neurology. Sean focused his studies on understanding the demise of the blood-brain-barrier in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Months before departure to Stanford, Sean was awarded a highly prestigious
fellowship from the American Federation for Aging Research and the Glenn Foundation. After arrival, Sean published a solo-authored paper in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience; among the top 10 percentile of all Frontiers journal articles.
In 2019, Sean finished his post-doctoral studies at Stanford and founded Pluripotent Diagnostics Corp.
(formerly Pluripotent Diagnostics LLC) in an apartment in Mountain View, California. The approach at Pluripotent Diagnostics (PDx) was overarching and innovative. The mission at PDx is to provide early disease diagnostics for our patients prior to clinical onset for immediate therapeutic interventions.
In this time since 2019, PDx has several peer-review manuscripts in review, an international provisional patent on Methods to Detect Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, full feature on CEO CFO Magazine, listed as “Top 10 Most Influential Leaders in Biotechnology for 2021”, partnerships with NVIDIA, Oracle and Amazon, press releases in NBC and CBS news, and sponsorship with California’s Molecular Medicine Research Institute. The sky’s the limit for PDx.
What Influenced Your Decision to Start this Venture?
Mental disorders impact our entire community and are historically ill tolerated or helped. Throughout my life, I have witnessed friends, family, and myself with mental disorders and diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. One in three elderly dies with dementia allowing it to become a global burden and world war. This comes with the complete inability to cure or significantly prolong lifespan. This has for over the decade driven my passions for the sciences to directly impact our patients. Early diagnostics means early therapeutic intervention, before neurons die”, Dr. Sean shared.
The Foetal Stage Challenges
One of the biggest challenges was finding exceptional scientists to work on sweat equity for the PDx mission. Scientists, like most people, need to pay the bills and live with as little stress as possible.
Keeping up with the Rising Technologies
“For the first time in mankind, early disease detection will be globally available… The World War is dementia, and we are on an overarching mission to dedicate our life to take innovative approaches that are out of the box but focused”, Sean shared while talking about his future plans.
A Piece of Advice for Female Entrepreneurs
Female professionals are facing an obstacle that has always been there but only now being appreciated. Keep pushing and pushing, your dedication and brilliant minds will pay off and help us all push to a world of equality. Most people don’t it their first run, but as I like to say, in the future you can always remember “this is not my first rodeo” and kick some ass.