Phyllis Freeman, PhD


Dr Phyllis Freeman is an Associate Professor of Biology and Curriculum Coordinator of Biology in the Department of Life and Physical Sciences at Fisk University. Her teaching efforts include interdisciplinary exposure to the sciences and humanities in the core undergraduate curriculum, and in advanced courses in molecular cell biology, genetics and microbiology. Her efforts also include mentoring undergraduate research in the sciences. Dr. Freeman’s doctoral research focused on the trypanosome parasite endemic to South and Central America, Trypanosoma cruzi.

As a result of embedding authentic research into her course in Genetics, Dr Freeman became aware of the power of the nematode,  C. elegans,  in revealing developmental pathways that  result in the formation of the central nervous systems and its continuing functions in adult animals, where most of  the molecular pathways have their counterparts in human beings. This awareness led to her receipt of a National Institutes of Health Award to participate as a research collaborator in the laboratory  of Dr Randy Blakely at Vanderbilt University, and then bring back to Fisk her new research program and broad-based collaborations as a venue for undergraduate and graduate research.

As a recipient of the Bush-Hewlett Award from the American Council on Education, Dr Freeman has participated at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, in a focused externship on assessment of academic programs and university governance.


  1. P. Freeman-Junior, P. A. McCarroll, K. McCall, T. Crenshaw, K.A. Mimms, J. Rogers, and W.E. Lu. High Resolution Analysis of Prokaryotic Morphogenetic Responses to Stress Induction Imaged by Atomic Force Microscopy. Beta Kappa Chi Journal, 2006
  2. McCall, K., McCarroll, P., Lu, W.E., and Freeman-Junior, P., Atomic Force Microscope Analysis of Bacillus Stearothermophilus, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, Annual Proceedings of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, 2003

Published Abstracts

Freeman, P., Jackson, E.J., Odiase, P.O., Monroe, B., Wright, W.W., Elie, C.D., Eugene, A., Snarrenburg, C.L., Wright, J., Sturgeon, S.M., Robinson, B.B, and Blakely, R.D., Parkinson’s Disease and The Tale of Two SNPs: An Interdisciplinary Approach. 42nd Annual Mid-South Sociological Association Conference, North Charleston, SC, 2016.

Freeman, P., Jackson, E.J., Odiase, P.O., Monroe, B., Wright, W.W., Elie, C.D., Eugene, A., Snarrenburg, C.L., Wright, J., Sturgeon, S.M., Robinson, B.B, and Blakely, R.D., A Tale of Two SNPs: Genetic Analysis of the Dopamine Transporter Structure and Function in DAT-1 Coding Variants Derived from the C. elegans Million Mutation Project, Genetics Society of America, The Allied Genetics Conference, 2016. 

Robinson, S.B., Hardaway, A.J., Sturgeon, S., Popay, T., Bermingham, D.B., Freeman, P., and Randy D. Blakely, R.D. Truncation of the RUNX transcription factor RNT-1 disrupts dopaminergic signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics Society of America, The Allied Genetics Conference, 2016.

Refal, OHardaway, J. A, Robinson, S, Snarrenberg, C.L., Hardie, S.L., Freeman P., and Blakely, R.D.,

A search for Novel Presynaptic Determinants of Dopamine Signaling in C. elegansGenetics Society of America, The Allied Genetics Conference, 2016.

Odiase, P.O., Whitaker, S.M., Snarrenberg, C.L., Freeman, P., Hardaway, J.A., and Blakely, R.D. Role of swip-10,

a novel gene, in the regulation of dopamine signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans, National Conference on Undergraduate Research, 2015.

Freeman, P., Sturgeon, S.M., Bermingham, D.P., Snarrenberg, C.L., Snider, S.L., Robinson, S.B, and Blakely, R.D. Five in a million: Analysis of changes in dopamine transporter function in dat-1 coding variants derived from the C. elegans Million Mutation Project, Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 2014.

Freeman, P., Robinson, S.B., Flagerty, D., Limbird, L., and Blakely, R.D., Swipping Together: A Collaborative Model for the Introduction of Authentic Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum of Science Majors, International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2014.     

Phyllis Freeman

Phyllis Freeman, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Discipline Coordinator, Biology

Ph.D. in Molecular Parasitology, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN

306 W.E.B. DuBois Hall

On research leave May 2013 through August 2015 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center