Dr. Julie Baker Phillips is an Associate Professor of Biology and the Bobby Nichols Professorship holder at Cumberland University. She joined the faculty in fall of 2017. Prior to coming to Cumberland, she completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics at Middle Tennessee State University. After completing her baccalaureate, she stayed at MTSU to complete her masters degree in biology, studying reproductive and stress physiology of the eastern fence lizard under the supervision of Matthew Klukowski. She then moved to California to complete her doctorate in Quantitative and Systems Biology at the University of California, Merced, under the supervision of David Ardell. Her dissertation, entitled “Evolution of Eukaryotic Transfer Ribonucleic Acid|” searched for footprints of functional constraints highlighting patterns of evolutionary change in transfer RNA (tRNA) in Drosophila. Upon returning to Tennessee, she started as a postdoc in the Rokas lab at Vanderbilt University, where she focused on uncovering genes associated with variation in birth timing as well as molecular evolution of gene families associated with negative pregnancy outcomes under a grant from the March of Dimes.
Dr. Phillips is currently conducting research evolution of reproductive life history traits as well as continuing to investigate the evolutionary history of interesting gene families. She is always seeking motivated students to mentor in research. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Phillips enjoys providing theatrical science demonstrations free of charge to area elementary schools.
Professional and organizational affiliations include Sigma Xi, the Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health, and the Tennessee Academy of Sciences.