Dorothy J. Phillips: History
Please note this is an old version of this entry, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Subjects: Others
  • circular dichroism
  • bioseparation
  • wingfield

Basic Information

Dorothy J. Phillips
Name: Dorothy J. Phillips
(Jul 1945–)
Title: Chemist
Affiliation: Dow Chemical Company Waters Corporation
Honor: Unknown

1. Introduction

Dorothy Jean Phillips (née Wingfield) (born July 27, 1945) is an African-American Chemist and Director-at-Large of the American Chemical Society. She worked on circular dichroism and bioseparation. In 1967 Phillips was the first African-American woman to complete a bachelor's degree at Vanderbilt University.

2. Early Life and Education

Phillips grew up in segregation in the southern United States.[1] She was one of eight children. Her father, Reverend Robert Cam Wingfield, was a Baptist minister, and her mother, Rebecca Cooper Wingfield, did occasional domestic work.[2] As a young girl the only white people Phillips knew were those who had employed her mother.[2] Her parents were very supportive of her education, and attended local meetings of the Negro Parent Teachers Association.[2] The Wingfields became more active with the civil rights movement after the Rosa Parks bus boycott in 1956.[2] Her brother was part of the Nashville sit-ins and her family were one of the first to integrate into Nashville. Phillips attended an National Science Foundation summer school for African-American students, which inspired her to study chemistry.[2] She and her boyfriend took part in a statewide mathematics competition 'for colored students'.[2] She eventually majored in chemistry at Tennessee State University, but transferred to Vanderbilt University in 1966.[3] Whilst Phillips originally intended to study medicine, she was discouraged by her advisor who believed she would not be able to have a family and attend medical school.[2] She pledged to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was listed in the Who's Who Among American High School Students.[2] She studied chemistry at Vanderbilt University, where she was the first African-American woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts in 1967.[4] Attending Vanderbilt University was the first time Phillips had white classmates and professors.[2] After graduating, Phillips worked in psycho-pharmaceutical research.[2] She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati, and, again, was the first African-American woman in Cincinnati to earn a PhD in biochemistry.[2] In 1973 the joined the American Chemical Society.[5] She worked on the R17 virus, using circular dichroism and electron paramagnetic resonance to understand the conformation of the viral protein.[2] Whilst researching the R17 virus, Phillips read about the work of Patrick Oriel at Dow Chemical Company, and decided to apply.[2]

3. Career

After graduating, Phillips joined the Dow Chemical Company as a bench scientist.[6][7] She developed circular dichroism and began to work on antibiotics and herbicides.[2] At Dow Chemical Company Phillips helped students from Michigan State University to analyse the antibiotics in animal feed. She established how they might impact animal growth.[2] She is responsible for several patents in the area, including one to improve lactation and another to improve feed utilisation.[8][9][10]

Phillips joined the Waters Corporation in 1984, where she worked in research and development until 1996.[11] At Waters Corporation Phillips was a member of the Chemical Research and Development department, developing chromatography packing materials and bioseparations.[2] Under her leadership the team developed the AccellPlus exchange packings, which could be used to separate proteins.[2] She began to consult the biotechnology company Millipore Corp., travelling the world to talk about the work of the Waters Corporation.[2] Her work expanded to include high-performance liquid chromatography. Phillips also investigated small molecules, including the drug sildenafil.[2] She served as Clinical Marketing Director and Strategic Marketing Director.[12] She was involved with the development of the Waters Corporation Symmetry columns and Oasis cartridges.[11] After an almost thirty-year career, Phillips retired from the Waters Corporation in 2013.[1]

3.1. Academic Service

In 1990 Phillips became involved with the American Chemical Society Northeastern Section.[7] She was involved with the American Chemical Society Project SEED, a scheme which allows high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete summer placements in research laboratories.[2] In 2013 Phillips was appointed Director-at-Large of the American Chemical Society.[1] She was re-elected as Director-at-Large in 2016, and seeks to use her tenure to improve their 'globalization and diversity'.[13] In 2017 Vanderbilt University created two faculty fellowships in her honour.[4] The inaugural fellowship holder was Renã A. S. Robinson.[14]

3.2. Awards and Honours

Phillips' awards and honours include;

  • 1994 University of Cincinnati Distinguished Alumni[15]
  • 2004 American Chemical Society Nashville Section Salute to Excellence Award[16]
  • 2006 Vanderbilt University Unsung Heroine Award[16]
  • 2006 American Chemical Society Northeastern Section Henry A. Hill Award[17]
  • 2008 American Chemical Society Santa Clara Valley Section Shirley B. Radding Award[18][19]
  • 2008 Waters Corporation Leadership Award for Outstanding Contributions[2]
  • 2008 Vanderbilt University Dr. Dorothy Wingfield Phillips Award for Leadership
  • 2010 Fellow of the American Chemical Society[20]
  • 2011 New England Institute of Chemists Distinguished Chemist Award[21]
  • 2015 Vanderbilt University Dr. Dorothy J. Wingfield Phillips Endowed Chair

3.3. Personal Life

Phillips was married two weeks after graduating Vanderbilt University. Her brother, Robert C. Wingfield, serves as Director of the Fisk Community Environmental Toxics Awareness and Sustainability Program.[2][22] She has two children, Anthony and Crystal, and a step-daughter called Vickie.[2]

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Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions.


  1. "Dorothy J. Phillips elected to board of world’s largest scientific society" (in en). 
  2. Brown, Jeannette E. (2018-08-08) (in en). African American Women Chemists in the Modern Era. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190615185. 
  3. "Who Was Who" (in en). 
  4. Communications, Vanderbilt Division of. "Dorothy Phillips, first African American woman to receive an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt, recognized" (in en). 
  5. "Facebook Live: Opportunities to Serve Human Rights" (in en). 
  6. "American Chemical Society South Florida Section Newsletter". 
  7. "Philips, Dorothy" (in en). 
  8. Method for improving lactation in ruminant animals,, retrieved 2019-03-28 
  9. (Trichloromethyl)pyridine compounds useful for promoting growth and/or improving feed utilization efficiency in ruminants,, retrieved 2019-03-28 
  10. 3-Trichloromethyl-5-substituted-1,2,4-thiadiazoles as ruminant animal growth promoters,, retrieved 2019-03-28 
  11. "The Analyzer Source" (in en). 
  12. "Dorothy J. Phillips" (in en). C&EN Global Enterprise 94 (36): 56–58. 2016-09-12. doi:10.1021/cen-09436-acsnews010. ISSN 2474-7408. 
  13. "Dorothy J. Phillips of Natick, Massachusetts re-elected to board of world’s largest scientific society" (in en). 
  14. "Renã A. S. Robinson, PhD | Vanderbilt Memory & Alzheimer's Center". 
  15. "CHEMBOND". 
  16. "Honors" (in en). 
  17. "Welcome to NESACS - Awards | Henry A. Hill Award Recipients". 
  18. "Awards and Grants | American Chemical Society" (in en-US). 
  19. "Silicon Valley Chemist". 
  20. "2010 ACS Fellows | August 2, 2010 Issue - Vol. 88 Issue 31 | Chemical & Engineering News". 
  21. "For Director-at-Large: Dorothy J. Phillips | Chemical & Engineering News". 
  22. "Robert Wingfield | Fisk University". 
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