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

Sexually dimorphic development of the mesolimbic dopamine system is associated with nuanced sensitivity to adolescent alcohol use.
Front Behav Neurosci 17(): 1124979
Asarch AM, Kruse LC, Schindler AG, Phillips PEM, Clark JJ

Socioeconomic and Racial Disparities in Vision Care Access and Impairment Among United States Children.
(2023 Feb 22)
Chauhan MZ, Elhusseiny AM, Rook BS, Samarah ES, Uwaydat SH, Sallam AB, Phillips PH

COVID-19 Vaccine-Associated Optic Neuropathy: A Systematic Review of 45 Patients.
(2022 Oct 20)
Vaccines (Basel) 10(10):
Elnahry AG, Al-Nawaflh MY, Gamal Eldin AA, Solyman O, Sallam AB, Phillips PH, Elhusseiny AM

Temporal Alterations of Sphingolipids in Optic Nerves After Indirect Traumatic Optic Neuropathy.
(2023 Mar)
Ophthalmol Sci 3(1): 100217
Chauhan MZ, Phillips PH, Chacko JG, Warner DB, Pelaez D, Bhattacharya SK

Five-Year Trends in Pediatric Vision Screening and Access in the United States.
(2023 Jan)
Ophthalmology 130(1): 120-122
Chauhan MZ, Elhusseiny AM, Samarah ES, Rook BS, Sallam AB, Phillips PH

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