Dr Anna C. Phillips is an internationally renowned researcher and Health Psychologist working in Psychoneuroimmunology and Psychophysiology. She has conducted award winning work on stress and vaccination response across the life course.
She was appointed as a research associate during her PhD at the University of Birmingham, and undertook post-doctoral research for one year following her PhD with Prof Douglas Carroll. She then went on to win a prestigious 5-year RCUK Roberts Fellowship which is a fast-track fellowship that segues into a lectureship following its completion. On completion of the fellowship in 2011 she was promoted to Senior Research Fellow, and then again to Reader in Behavioural Medicine in 2012.
She received the Herbert Weiner Early Career Award 2010 from the American Psychosomatic Society - one of only two UK scientists to ever win this award. The award is made in recognition of importance and sophistication of research for this career stage.
Dr Phillips also won the Neal Miller Early Career Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research 2010 - a very prestigious award to research. In 2011 Dr Phillips became the inaugral winner of the award for outstanding contributions to research from the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology.
She is particularly interested in the impact of stress on health via interactions between the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and immune systems. Her main three areas of research are: 1) Cardiovascular reactivity to stress, where she is developing a new theory of the negative health correlates of blunted reactivity; 2) Ageing, stress and immunity, where she is engaged in grant funded projects to examine the synergistic impact of ageing and psychological factors such as stress and depression on indices of immunity; and 3) Psychological factors and health in epidemiological studies, where she is engaged in several collaborations on large datasets, and have been developing a new field of research showing the importance of the impact of anxiety on health outcomes including mortality and the metabolic syndrome. Other projects she is currently working on include trying to improve the antibody response to vaccination in older adults, stress hormone rhythms as indicators of fitness and wellbeing; predictors of psychological and physical frailty; and neural correlates of negative personality traits and risky health behaviours. She is well published in all of these areas and sees here work developing further along these lines to integrate together her knowledge of psychological factors, immunity, and cardiovascular reactivity to stress to produce a model or set of markers of risk of unhealthy ageing. With her existing and new collaborators, psychological, physical activity, or biomedical interventions could be developed to be applied in individuals identified as at risk, to prevent the progression to frailty and poor physical and emotional health in older age. This integration of the different physiological systems and psychological predictors implicated in healthy ageing, and applying successful multi-level interventions to improve health in later life is her long term research goal.