Kristin F. Phillips

Assistant Professor

  • B.S. in Psychology, Virginia Tech
  • Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University

My interest in neuroscience began as an undergraduate student in the Psychology Department at Virginia Tech. As an undergrad, I worked with Dr. Angela Scarpa as an original member of the Virginia Tech Autism Research Group. My work with this group led to the formation of the Virginia Tech Autism Clinic (VTAC). During my graduate work at VCU, I studied the neuroprotective benefits of hypothermia following a neurological insult called status epilepticus. My postdoctoral training was in neurotoxicology where my research focused on countermeasures to prevent acquired epilepsy and psychiatric morbidities following nerve gas exposure. In my most recent work I created a rodent model of Gulf War Illness, a chronic multi-symptom disorder that affects military veterans of the first Gulf War. This rodent model allows us to investigate the molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairments that afflict veterans as well as test new therapeutics to treat these conditions.

In addition to an active research career, I have been heavily involved in undergraduate teaching. As a teacher, my goal is demonstrate the vast implications that arise from understanding how the brain works. I focus on real-world application, collaboration, and student engagement. I am excited to return to Virginia Tech where I will be actively involved in teaching and curriculum development in the School of Neuroscience.

Teaching excellence is my top priority. At Virginia Tech, I will step away from the bench and focus my research efforts on the classroom. As educators, we are always looking for innovative ways of engaging students and enhancing student learning. In the School of Neuroscience, my role will be to investigate how different teaching strategies can be incorporated into the curriculum to provide the best educational experience for our students.

  • 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.