Paul Phillips, PhD

Personal Statement

My lab’s focus is reward processing, how it differs under behavior phenotypes that are more vulnerable or resilient to mental illness and how it is changed by psychiatric pathology. Our primary focus is dopamine transmission and the circuits in which is participates.

We developed tools that allow us to track dopamine with sub-second resolution in animals over the course of months (Clark et al, Nat Methods, 2010). This approach allows us to study trajectories of precise neurochemical encoding of behaviors over the course of the development of symptomology and subsequent treatment in animal models of disease. We also have adapted this technology for intraoperative recording in humans (Kishida et al, PLoS One, 2011).

Our research highlights include contributions in the area of dopamine’s role in learning (Flagel et al, Nature, 2012), decision making (Gan et al, Nat Neurosci, 2010) and goal navigation (Howe et al, Nature, 2013). We have gleaned information on how stress impacts appetitive motivation (Wanat et al, Nat Neurosci, 2013), how adolescent alcohol use produces enhanced risk taking later in life (Clark et al, PLoS One, 2012), and identified biological mechanisms for the motivational shift in stress-induced depressive disorders (Lemos et al, Nature, 2012) and the switch to excessive drug intake in substance abuse (Willuhn et al, Nat Neurosci, 2014).

These approaches have attracted a large number of collaborations, including National Academy members Akil, Palmiter, Graybiel and Kandel.


PhD, Neuroscience, University of London, 1999
BS, Physiology, University of Liverpool, 1993

Department Affiliations

Recent Publications

Implantable Aptamer-Graphene Microtransistors for Real-Time Monitoring of Neurochemical Release in Vivo.
(2022 May 11)
Nano Lett 22(9): 3668-3677
Wu G, Zhang N, Matarasso A, Heck I, Li H, Lu W, Phaup JG, Schneider MJ, Wu Y, Weng Z, Sun H, Gao Z, Zhang X, Sandberg SG, Parvin D, Seaholm E, Islam SK, Wang X, Phillips PEM, Castro DC, Ding S, Li DP, Bruchas MR, Zhang Y

Diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease in a Patient With Decreased Vision From Optic Atrophy and No Other Neurological Symptoms.
(2022 Mar 24)
J Neuroophthalmol
Chacko JA, Phillips PH, Ramakrishnaiah RH, Schaefer GB, Uwaydat SH

The Influence of Stress on Decision-Making: Effects of CRF and Dopamine Antagonism in the Nucleus Accumbens.
Front Psychiatry 12(): 814218
Williams RG, Li KH, Phillips PEM

Multiple phylogenetically-diverse, differentially-virulent Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from a single soil sample collected in Thailand.
(2022 Feb)
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 16(2): e0010172
Roe C, Vazquez AJ, Phillips PD, Allender CJ, Bowen RA, Nottingham RD, Doyle A, Wongsuwan G, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock S, Keim P, Tuanyok A, Wagner DM, Sahl JW

(2022 Feb)
J AAPOS 26(1): 51
Kilgore DA, Sallam AB, Phillips PH

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