PhD Student in Exercise Physiology
Neil McMillan earned his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Human Performance at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2016 and a master’s degree from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where he was trained as a clinical exercise physiologist. Subsequently, he accepted a position as the lab manager and research specialist for the Integrative Physiology Lab at the University of Chicago at Illinois for two years. Here he was further involved in conducting vascular based research in unique clinical populations and my interest in mechanisms of vascular dysfunction continued to grow, leading me to Mizzou. Outside of the lab he enjoys hiking, camping, spending time with his dog, rock climbing, and exploring new beer and food scenes.
Awards: Molecular Life Sciences Fellowship; Adeline M. Hoffman Award in Human Environmental Sciences
Why did you choose Mizzou?
Mizzou offers an incredible environment to grow professionally. The faculty are collaborative, conducting meaningful research using cutting edge methodology, and truly want to see graduate students succeed. I was drawn to Dr. Padilla’s research, especially in his ability to utilize cellular, animal, and human based approaches to answer mechanistic questions. I feel this is a very advantageous approach to research. Besides my interests aligning with that of Dr. Padilla, during my visit I felt wanted by the lab group and the department. This made my decision easy.
What is your thesis/dissertation about?
Being a first-year doctoral student, I have yet to tease out a dissertation project. However, I plan to utilize human and cellular models revolved around identifying mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in individuals with chronic disease.
Why did you choose the field you chose?
My initial career plan was to go into physical therapy. However, when was an undergraduate, my grandmother died of heart failure. This ended up being a catalyst that, in conjunction with a pathophysiology course, lead me toward clinical exercise physiology. The research and experiences I had during my masters and while working in Chicago have made it clear to me that I want to continue on the research path.
Have your career goals changed?
Where do you plan to go upon graduation?
Following Mizzou, I first anticipate pursing a post doc position. My ultimate career ambitions are to work as a tenure track faculty member in a 50/50 research-teaching position, where I can conduct meaningful research in vascular dysfunction while attempting to inspire the younger generation in the classroom. However, I am open to other options if they should arise.
What did you like about Mizzou?
The university is full of opportunities in research, teaching, and professional development. Graduate students and faculty in the NEP are great to work with. Also, I have thus far enjoyed downsizing from a large metropolitan area like Chicago to a smaller Columbia.
Who was your mentor?
Dr. Jaume Padilla.