Caleb Phillips

StudentsCollaboratorsSelected Publications

Curator of Genetic Resources, Natural Science Research Laboratory, Museum of TTU

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University

Ph.D., Genetics, Purdue University, 2009
M.S., Biology, Tarleton State University, 2006
B.S., Biology, Tarleton State University, 2003

The Phillips laboratory studies metagenomic and genomic evolution underlying mammalian adaptations.  Owing to the diversity and uniqueness of bats, most of our current projects utilize chiropteran systems.

Our work in metagenomics is geared to understand the relationship between the function and phylogenetic distribution of genes occurring in microbial genomes, the observed microbiome community structure of (and variance among) individual hosts, and host lineage-specific functional differences of metagenomes.  By incorporating concepts developed in thefields of evolutionary biology, genomics, phylogenetics, physiology and ecology, this work builds systems-level understanding of organismal function.

Our work in genomics devolves from our interest in understanding how evolution of gene expression explains functional differences across lineages.  For example, we are interested in identifying which genes have been recruited (i.e. turned on)in specific tissues of some bat species, but not others, and how these recruitments are adaptive to the different diets of these species.  Related, we are developing projects to understand gene expression changes as a physiological response to flight and foraging.  A uniting theme of our work is the goal of understanding the diversity of ways in which genomic function evolvesto support success in different dietary niches.

Contact Information

Office Phone: (806)834-8181

Web Links


Our Students:
Howie Huynh
Preston McDonald
Oscar Sandate
Matthew Fox

Our Collaborators:
Robert Bradley:      
Liam McGuire:       
Richard Stevens:    
Tigga Kingston:      
David Ray:              


Selected Publications:
CD Phillips, RJ Baker (2015) Secretory gene recruitments in vampire bat salivary adaptation and potential convergences with sanguivorous leeches. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, DOI:10.3389/fevo.2015.00122

CJ Phillips, CD Phillips, J Goecks, EP Lessa, CG Sotero-Caio, B Tandler, MR Gannon, RJ Baker (2014) Dietary and flight energetic adaptations in a salivary gland transcriptome of an insectivorous bat. PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083512

FAA Khan, CD Phillips, RJ Baker (2014) Timeframes of speciation, reticulation, and hybridization in the bulldog bat explained through phylogenetic analyses of all genetic transmission elements. Systematic Biology, 63(1):96–110

J Thomas, CD Phillips, RJ Baker, EJ Pritham (2014) Rolling-circle transposons catalyze genomic innovation in a mammalian lineage. Genome biology and evolution, 6(10): 2595-2610

CD Phillips, B Butler, JW Fondon, H Mantilla-Meluk, RJ Baker (2013) Contrasting evolutionary dynamics of the developmental regulator PAX9, among bats, with evidence for a novel post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism. PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057649

CD Phillips, G Phelan, SE Dowd, MM McDonough, AW Ferguson, JD Hanson, L Siles, N Ordóñez-Gerza, M San Francisco, RJ Baker (2012) Microbiome analysis among bats describes influences of host phylogeny, life history, physiology and geography. Molecular Ecology, 21(11):2617-2627