Zoologist and Curator of Annelids and Flatworms

Wide shot of zoologist Dr. Anna Phillips wearing a black sweater in front of a tree in the woods, holding leaches in her hand.
Dr. Anna Phillips catching leeches for her research in Connecticut. Image courtesy of Alejandro Oceguera-Figueroa.

Anna Phillips is a research zoologist and a curator of earthworms, leeches, and tapeworms. Growing up in small towns in North Carolina, Anna enjoyed annual camping trips with her family to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for hiking, biking, and tubing that developed her love of the outdoors. It was her interest in ALL wildlife, including smaller organisms that are often overlooked, which led her to a career in invertebrate biology.

Anna is now a parasitologist whose research focuses on the systematics, evolution, and host associations of two kinds of parasitic worms: leeches and tapeworms. Her work uses morphological and molecular data to describe new species and determine the evolutionary relationships of these groups of worms, but this is not possible without fieldwork to collect specimens. Anna has conducted fieldwork on 6 of the 7 continents to collect parasitic worms in far away places, such as Rwanda, Tasmania, and Brazil, and some not so far away, such as Louisiana and Connecticut.