Aaron Phillips, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Physiology & Pharmacology

My research combines integrated physiology and neuroscience in order to understand cardiovascular function. Currently, the laboratory has two primary foci: the first is to understand the mechanisms underlying neurovascular regulation in the human brain; the second is to develop a neurostimulation therapy for restoring cardiovascular health in those with autonomic dysfunction.

I am currently collaborating with labs in Switzerland and Croatia as well as with clinicians in Minnesota to deeply understand the capacity of electrical stimulation of the spinal cord to control autonomic function. These studies are using murine models, as well as non-human primates and humans.



Jordan Squair, MD/PhD Candidate

Research Contractor

My research is focused on understanding the cardiovascular consequences of spinal cord injury. Recently, my research group has identified that individuals with spinal cord injury are 300-400% more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease (i.e. stroke, myocardial infarction, cardiac disease) than the general population. Thus, my doctoral work will specifically focus on developing novel strategies (i.e. neuroprotection, plasticity manipulation) to restore and/or maintain descending control of crucial autonomic structures below the level of injury. Using these strategies, I will aim to reduce blood pressure lability, restore cardiac function, and thereby reduce this population’s dramatic cardiovascular disease risk burden.


Rejitha Suraj, PhD (Pharmacy), RPh

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Rejitha Suraj received her PhD in Pharmacy from LaTrobe Univesirty, Australia in 2016. Her PhD focused on targeting DNA damage and repair pathway in colon cancer cells. In particular, her work involved target-based drug design and elucidating the molecular pathways by which novel DNA-PK inhibitors imparts chemo sensitization. She joined Dr. Aaron Phillips Lab as a postdoctoral research fellow since March 2018. Her current work focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurovascular regulation in the human brain and to develop a neurostimulation therapy for restoring cardiovascular health in those with spinal cord injury.


Elin Sõber-Williams, Undergraduate Student

For the past three years I have pursued a multidisciplinary undergraduate experience from Quest University which has supplied a broad knowledge base in the liberal arts and sciences, but also a focused study of physiology. My research interests lie in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular physiology, and I am excited to learn more about the neurovascular coupling response in patients with spinal cord injury. My honours thesis will be focused on these subjects.


Sarah Hodge, Undergraduate Student

In September of 2018, I will be entering my final year of undergraduate studies at Queen’s University, obtaining a degree in Life Sciences with a specialization in biomedicine. In my introductory and upper-year level coursework I have developed a passion for the medical world and am extremely excited to pursue research within the Philips Lab. Within the past three years, I have acquired an extensive background in mammalian physiology, human anatomy and pharmacology, all of which will complement my summer project involving the neurovascular coupling response in both healthy participants and those with spinal cord injuries.


Delaney Bradley, Undergraduate Student

I have recently completed my second year of an undergraduate degree majoring in Pure Mathematics at the University of Calgary. Through this, I have become interested in the application and interdisciplinary aspect of my field, and I hope to learn more through being involved with research. Currently, I am updating the Neurovascular Coupling Software used by the Phillips Lab. I have enjoyed using math as a tool to solve complex biological questions, and I look forward to continuing this work in the future.


Emma Spence, Undergraduate Student

In June of 2018 I will have completed my first year in the Queen’s School of Medicine. My passions for people and medicine paired with my interest in research has me truly excited to be engaged in the translational research conducted by the Phillips lab. My studies in human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and medicine will serve me well as I work on two projects during the summer of 2018. The first project will examine the neurovascular coupling responses of spinal cord injured patients compared to uninjured participants. The second project will use an animal model to investigate the effects of orthostatic hypotension on individuals with spinal cord injury.