Interview: Dr. Jeffrey Miner, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Viscient Biosciences

Jeffrey N. Miner is a Founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Viscient Biosciences. Prior to Viscient, Dr. Miner held research leadership positions at Ardea Biosciences, a member of the Astrazeneca group, and Ligand Pharmaceuticals.  His responsibilities at Ardea covered the Biology program as it relates to the discovery, preclinical, translational and clinical development.  He was head of molecular and cellular biology at Ligand Pharmaceuticals.  He is a Faculty Advisor and Molecular Biology Institute Associate at San Diego State University and is a scientific advisory board member for ARTA Bioscience.  His Ph.D. graduate work was conducted in virology at Oregon State University with a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco in glucocorticoid gene regulation. He has drug discovery experience in the Inflammation, Oncology, Endocrine and Cardiovascular drug discovery therapeutic areas and his work has led to or enhanced the development of multiple marketed compounds. His target expertise includes Nuclear Receptors, Kinases, and Transporters.  He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and is an inventor on multiple patents. Dr. Miner will be a speaker at the #3DHEALS2018 conference on April 20-21st, 2018. 
Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Jeff: I saw a presentation by a scientist at Organovo.  They had what looked like a model for a normal liver function from transporters to metabolic enzymes, together with cellular context.  This immediately said to me – Disease models could be transformative here.
Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey/company/career/research in 3D printing (bio-fabrication/bio-printing)?
Jeff: My view of the value of 3D technology in drug discovery coupled with meeting and discovering a shared vision with Keith Murphy, the former CEO of Organovo.
Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)? This can be a mentor, a patient, a celebrity, anyone basically. You can name more than one as well.
Jeff: Keith Murphy had this vision a decade ago and has worked to realize it.
Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work?
Jeff: The opportunity to directly impact patient suffering through the development of efficacious medicines.
Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions?
Jeff: Understanding the biology of the disease and the targets is the greatest challenge due to the complexity, the solutions come slowly from difficult, careful experimentation.
Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Jeff: Challenges: Clinical translation and complete disease modeling.   Solutions:  The application and iteration of 3D models, but it will take a lot of work and the climbing of a steep learning curve that we’re just starting to ascend.
Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore?
Jeff: Good Advice: Ask questions and listen to the answers, then ask another question based on that answer.  Bad advice : be afraid to ask questions.
Jenny: If you could have a giant billboard to promote a message to millions and even billions of people in our community (i.e. healthcare 3D printing and bio-fabrication), what message would that be?
Jeff: Keep up the great work, you will change healthcare.
Jenny: What were/was the best investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Jeff: Deciding to couple my skills in drug discovery and development with the powerful tools of 3D bioprinting to take pharma discovery to the next level.
Jenny: What were/was the worst investment you made in 3D printing/bio-printing/bio-fabrication?
Jeff: No bad investments yet, stay tuned.  Failure begets learning so investments all have value unless you aren’t thinking things through to know the risk profile and next moves.
Jenny: What was/is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Jeff: It would have been riskier NOT to found Viscient than it was to found it because we’d never know what we could have accomplished.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time? What are you passionate about outside of your work/3D printing?
Jeff: Birding, Rock climbing, Mountain biking, public science education
Jenny: What is your favorite quote? Why?
Jeff: “People saying something is impossible are often interrupted by others doing it”.  –  Why?:  We have no idea what is possible, period.
Jenny: What does the word “3DHEALS” mean to you? =) 
Jeff: You have 3 deals for me, said with an English accent.