Anna J. Phillips

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Anna J. Phillips is an American Research Zoologist and curator of Clitellata and Cestoda at the National Museum of Natural History's Department of Invertebrate Zoology. As a parasitologist her research focuses on leeches and tapeworms, by studying their diversity, relationships, and host associations. She has traveled all over the world with her fieldwork to study the diversity of these invertebrates on a long range.

Anna J Phillips
Alma materThe City University of New York Appalachian State University
Scientific career
InstitutionsNational Museum of Natural History University of Connecticut
Author abbrev. (zoology)AJ Phillips, A Phillips


Phillips grew up in North Carolina spending much of her time outdoors. She and her family would go camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Each year they would visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Out of all this she became interested in wildlife, even the smaller organisms that were not noticed by many. These experiences led to her research in invertebrate biology, focusing on parasitology.[1]

She graduated with a BS in Biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology from Appalachian State University in 2006 with university honors. She received her PhD in Biology from The City University of New York in 2011.[2] She then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. In 2013 she became a research zoologist and curator at the National Museum of Natural History in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.[3]

Picture of an undescribed species of Grania (Clitellata)

Phillips helped oversee the transfer of the United States National Parasite Collection to the Natural History Museum. About 20 million specimens were moved. They are now sorting through the specimens to organize and maintain the collections. Some of the collection are older and must be maintained in a different way now to keep them in good condition.[4]

Phillips has traveled to 6 of the 7 continents for her fieldwork. She collects specimens to describe new species and find out evolutionary connections of the worms, while also using morphological and molecular data.[1] She also looks into host-parasite relationships to figure out how they changed their evolution.[5] She has been focusing her host-parasite interactions research on non-marine bird tapeworms.[2]

Select Publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Anna Phillips". Q?rius. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  2. ^ a b "SI NMNH IZ Staff: Anna Phillips". Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  3. ^ BSc, Anna J. PhillipsSmithsonian Institution · Department of Invertebrate Zoology 22 61 ·; PhD. "Anna J Phillips | BSc, PhD | Smithsonian Institution, DC | Department of Invertebrate Zoology". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  4. ^ "Yes, there's really a National Parasite Collection, and it's getting a new life at the Smithsonian". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  5. ^ Phillips, Anna (September 3, 2013). "Anna Phillips, Newest curator for IZ". Department of Invertebrate Zoology News - No Bones.