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Allison R. Phillips

Allison Phillips image

Associate Professor of Biology



  • Education

    B.S., University of Kentucky - Agricultural Biotechnology
    Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison - Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics
    Postdoctoral Fellowship, Carnegie Institution for Science - Department of Plant Biology


    I was born in the small town of Danville, Indiana, where I grew up with my wonderful and loving parents and two brothers.  Following high school I was desperate for a bigger city and attended the University of Kentucky for my undergraduate education where I started working in a plant genetics lab.  After graduation, I decided to continue my education and pursued a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  It was here that I discovered my two loves, my husband Jon and undergraduate education.  Shortly before getting married, I became a member of a WELS congregation, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.  Following Madison, we spent four years in the San Francisco Bay Area cultivating our passions for Giants Baseball (and the Brewers when they were in town), hiking, Philz coffee and avacados.  While a post-doctoral researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science I began my foray into corn research.  In 2011, I accepted the call to teach in the Biology Department at WLC and we made the big trek back to the mid-west.  We live in Wauwatosa and belong to St. John’s Evangelical Church where our oldest daughter Corrina attends school.  Our youngest daughter, Ada, will as well in just a few short years.  As a family, we especially enjoy the summers when we can walk to the nearby Farmer’s Market, listen to summer concerts in the park, and go on vacations that always bring us to some kind of beach.  Not to mention the summers allow me to time grow corn and work with students in the lab.


    • BIO 120 Life Science
    • BIO 124 Plant Science
    • BIO 202 Principles of Biology 2
    • BIO 324 Botany
    • BIO 401 Research Strategies  

    Research Interests

    I am interested in exploring how seeds develop and I use maize as a model system. The goals of my research are to determine genes and factors that influence seed development and to specifically determine the contribution of the maternal parent to this process. My research integrates techniques in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology and plant physiology to answer this central question.

    I am also interested in working with undergraduates to develop curriculum materials to share Biology and Plant Science with younger students and the wider community. It is an awesome way to integrate science research, teaching, and civic engagement and share the wonder and beauty of plant science with others.

    Scholarly Works

    Select Publications

    Chettoor, A.M., A.R. Phillips, C.T. Coker, B.D. Dilkes, and M.M.S. Evans. (2016).  Maternal gametophyte effects on seed development in maize.  Accepted for publication, Genetics.

    Phillips, A.R. and M.M.S. Evans. (2011). Analysis of stunter1, a maize mutant with reduced gametophyte size and maternal effects on seed development. Genetics187(4): 1085-1097.

    Phillips, A.R., A. Suttangkakul and R.D. Vierstra. (2008). The ATG12 conjugating enzyme, ATG10, is essential for autophagic vesicle formation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetics 178(3): 1339-1353. Phillips, A.R., A.L. Roberston, J. Batzli, M. Harris, and S. Miller. (2008). Aligning goals, assessments and activities: an approach to teaching PCR and gel electrophoresis. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 2008: 96–106.

    Robertson, A.L. and A.R. Phillips. (2008). Integrating PCR theory and bioinformatics into a research-oriented primer design exercise. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 2008: 89–95.

    Thompson, A.R., J.H. Doelling, A. Suttangkakul, and R.D. Vierstra. (2005). Autophagic nutrient recycling in Arabidopsis thaliana directed by the ATG8 and ATG12 conjugation pathways. Plant Physiol. 138(4): 2097-2110.

    Thompson, A.R. and R.D. Vierstra. (2005). Autophagic recycling: lessons from yeast help define the process in plants. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 8(2).


    • Member of the American Society for Plant Biologists