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

Bacterial Genome Wide Association Studies (bGWAS) and Transcriptomics Identifies Cryptic Antimicrobial Resistance Mechanisms in Acinetobacter baumannii.
Front Public Health 8(): 451
Roe C, Williamson CHD, Vazquez AJ, Kyger K, Valentine M, Bowers JR, Phillips PD, Harrison V, Driebe E, Engelthaler DM, Sahl JW

The Relationship of Age and Other Baseline Factors to Outcome of Initial Surgery for Intermittent Exotropia.
(2020 Apr)
Am J Ophthalmol 212(): 153-161
Repka MX, Chandler DL, Holmes JM, Donahue SP, Hoover DL, Mohney BG, Phillips PH, Stout AU, Ticho BH, Wallace DK, Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group.

Invited Discussion on: Autologous Fat Grafting with Percutaneous Fasciotomy and Reduction of the Nipple-Areolar Complex for the Correction of Tuberous Breast Deformity in Teenagers.
(2020 Apr)
Aesthetic Plast Surg 44(2): 270-271
Sozer O, Phillips P

The Effect of Horizontal Rectus Muscle Surgery on Distance-Near Incomitance.
(2020 May)
Am J Ophthalmol 213(): 97-108
Phillips PH, Fray KJ, Grigorian AP, Qureshi H, Spencer HJ, Rook BS

Optical Principles in Three-Dimensional Vitreoretinal Surgery and Laser Eyewear.
(2020 Feb)
Ophthalmol Retina 4(2): 224-225
Duddleston J, Chancellor JR, Ellabban AA, Soliman MK, Harper R, Uwaydat SH, Phillips PH, Sallam AB

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