Reader in Behavioural Medicine, University of Birmingham

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.

Experience

  • 2012–present
    Reader in Behavioural Medicine, University of Birmingham
  • 2011–2012
    Senior Research Fellow , University of Birmingham
  • 2006–2011
    RCUK Roberts Research Fellowship, University of Birmingham
  • 2005–2006
    Research Fellow, University of Birmingham
  • 2004–2005
    Research Associate, University of Birmingham
  • 2002–2002
    Research Associate, Coventry University
  • 1999–2002
    Research Assistant & Honorary Lecturer, Psychology Dept., Lancaster University, & Morecambe Bay NHS Trust
  • 1998–1998
    Assistant Psychologist, Sunfield School for Severe Learning Difficulties, Clent

Education

  • 2008 
    University of Birmingham, PGCert in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
  • 2005 
    University of Birmingham, PhD
  • 2002 
    Staffordshire University, MSc
  • 1998 
    University of Birmingham, BSc

Publications

  • 2000
    over 100, see my website for list

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    Understanding and reducing sleep disorders in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
    Role:
    Co-I with Prof Oliver et al.
    Funding Source:
    Cerebra
  • 2012
    Blunted physiological reactions to acute psychological stress: A novel marker of risky behaviour, addiction, and adverse health.
    Role:
    Advisor
    Funding Source:
    AXA post-doctoral research fellowship for Annie Ginty
  • 2012
    Award for Post-doctoral Fellow Joanna Long to have a training visit at UCL, laboratory of Prof Arne Akbar, to apply to Top Jabs MRC project.
    Role:
    Supervisor
    Funding Source:
    MRC Centenary Award
  • 2012
    Identifying Neural correlates of dysregulated responses to Stress among Individuals with Disordered Eating (INSIDE).
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Wellcome Trust ISSF
  • 2012
    Blunted cardiovascular reactivity to stress as a marker of risky health behaviours in adolescents
    Role:
    PhD Supervisor
    Funding Source:
    University of Birmingham Elite International Doctoral Training Scholarship
  • 2011
    Correlates of high and low cardiovascular reactivity to stress
    Role:
    PhD Supervisor
    Funding Source:
    ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Doctoral Award
  • 2011
    Top Jabs: Improving vaccination responses in older adults.
    Role:
    Co-PI with Dr Kai Toellner
    Funding Source:
    MRC Lifelong Health and Wellbeing strategic grant
  • 2011
    Structural Equation Modelling and mixed linear modelling training
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Wellcome Trust Value in People Training Visit Award
  • 2011
    Cognitive Testing.
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Wellcome Trust Value in People Training Visit Award
  • 2010
    AgeWell research day and newsletter for older adults and clinicians as knowledge transfer.
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    ESRC KT small project grant
  • 2010
    Marie Curie Initial Training Network: NINA
    Role:
    Co-I with Prof Janet Lord et al.
    Funding Source:
    European Commission FP7
  • 2009
    The synergistic effects of hip fracture and depression on immune function.
    Role:
    Co-PI with Prof Janet Lord.
    Funding Source:
    New Dynamics of Ageing – multi-Research council grant
  • 2009
    The impact of bereavement on innate immunity in older adults.
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    Dunhill Medical Trust Research
  • 2008
    Biology of Ageing.
    Role:
    Co-I with Prof Janet Lord et al. Lecturer and Project Supervisor.
    Funding Source:
    BBSRC Targeted Priority Studentships
  • 2006
    Investigation of Stress-induced Sweating.
    Role:
    Co-I with Dr Vikki Burns et al.
    Funding Source:
    Unilever £43,000