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Kristin F. Phillips

Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs
  • B.S. in Psychology, Virginia Tech
  • Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Neuroscience (0719)
Sandy Hall, Room 201
Virginia Tech, 210 Drillfield Dr.

I am an alum of Virginia Tech having received by B.S. in Psychology. I received my PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Virginia Commonwealth University. My research interests lie in neuropharmacology and neurotoxicology.   

Outside of research, I have been heavily involved in undergraduate teaching. As a teacher, my goal is to demonstrate the vast implications that arise from understanding how the brain works. I focus on real-world application, collaboration, and student engagement. At Virginia Tech I am heavily involved in teaching and curriculum development in the School of Neuroscience.  

During my graduate work at VCU, I studied the molecular changes that occur during epileptogenesis. I also investigated the neuroprotective benefits of hypothermia following status epilepticus. My postdoctoral training was in neurotoxicology where my research focused on developing countermeasures to prevent acquired epilepsy and psychiatric morbidities following nerve gas exposure. In particular, we were interested in changes in calcium dynamics that occur following low dose exposure to nerve gas and how these changes precipitate the development of epilepsy, cognitive deficits, and mood disorders. In my most recent work I studied the causes of and treatments for Gulf War Illness (GWI), a chronic multi-symptom disorder that affects military veterans of the first Gulf War. I developed a novel animal model to investigate the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of GWI. These symptoms include pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments. Effective treatments for GWI are lacking, so much of my work focused on understanding the molecular changes that underlie its development and testing new therapeutics to treat these conditions. 

  • Phillips KF, Santos E, Blair RE, Deshpande LS (2019) Targeting intracellular calcium stores alleviates neurological morbidities in a DFP-based rat model of Gulf War Illness. Toxicol Sci, 69(2): 567-578.
  • Phillips KF, Deshpande LS and DeLorenzo RJ (2018) Hypothermia Reduces Mortality, Prevents the Calcium Plateau, and Is Neuroprotective Following Status Epilepticus in Rats. Front. Neurol, 9:438.
  • Phillips KF and Deshpande LS (2018) Chronic Neurological Morbidities and Elevated Hippocampal Calcium Levels in a DFP-Based Rat Model of Gulf War Illness. J Mil Med, 183(suppl_1): 552-555.
  • Deshpande LS, Blair RE, Phillips KF, DeLorenzo RJ. (2016) Role of the calcium plateau in neuronal injury and behavioral morbidities following organophosphate intoxication. Ann NY Acad Sci, 1374(1): 176-83.
  • Deshpande LS, Blair RE, Huang BA, Phillips KF, DeLorenzo RJ. (2016) Pharmacological blockade of the calcium plateau provides neuroprotection following organophosphate paraoxon induced status epilepticus in rats. Neurotoxicol Tertol, 56: 81-86.
  • Phillips KF, Deshpande LS. (2016) Repeated low-dose organophosphate DFP exposure leads to the development of depression and cognitive impairment in a rat model of Gulf War Illness. Neurotoxicology, 52: 127-33.
  • Deshpande LS, Phillips KF, Huang BA, DeLorenzo RJ. (2014) Chronic behavioral and cognitive deficits in a rat survival model of paraoxon toxicity. Neurotoxicology, 44C: 352-357.
  • Deshpande LS, Carter DS, Phillips KF, Blair RE, DeLorenzo RJ. (2014) Development of status epilepticus, sustained calcium elevations and neuronal injury in a rat survival model of lethal paraoxon intoxication. Neurotoxicology, 44C: 17-26.
  • Phillips KF, Deshpande LS, DeLorenzo RJ. (2013) Hypothermia reduces calcium entry via NMDA and ryanodine receptors in cultured hippocampal neurons. Eur J Pharmacol, 698(1-3): 186-92.