Teresa Pitts, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery

Laboratory of Airway Protection

Phone: 502-852-8060
Email Teresa Pitts
Google Scholar Profile




Research Focus:

Teresa Pitts is a speech pathologist who moved from bedside to bench following completion of her Ph.D. Her research brought to light the co-existence of disordered swallow and cough in Parkinson’s disease which puts these patients at risk for significant respiratory complications.  As a post-doctoral fellow Dr Pitts has revealed the overlapping central control of cough and swallow in an animal for the eventual prediction of aspiration pneumonia in at-risk populations, and was awarded NIH’s prestigious Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) in 2013.  She is also working to develop a model of airway protection including dysphagia (disorder of swallow) and dystussia (disorder of cough) for testing of novel therapies to extend the quality-of-life of persons living with neuromuscular diseases. To this end she is a co-inventor on a novel treatment for airway protection which is being developed and licensed. In 2015 she began as an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center.

Key Publications:

Poliacek I, Rose MJ, Pitts TE, Mortensen A, Corrie LW, et al. Central administration of nicotine suppresses tracheobronchial cough in anesthetized cats.
Journal of Applied Physiology 2015; 118(3):265-72.
PubMed PMID:   25477349

Pitts T, Rose MJ, Poliacek I, Condrey J, Davenport PW, et al.  Effect of laparotomy on the swallow-breathing relationship in the cat.
Lung. 2015; 193(1):129-33. NIHMSID: NIHMS636752
PubMed PMID: 25331536

Pitts T, Gayagoy AG, Rose MJ, Poliacek I, Condrey JA, et al. Suppression of Abdominal Motor Activity during Swallowing in Cats and Humans.
PloS one. 2015; 10(5):e0128245.
PubMed PMID: 26020240

Ruddy BH, Pitts TE, Lehman J, Spector B, Lewis V, et al.  Improved voluntary cough immediately following office-based vocal fold medialization injections.
The Laryngoscope. 2014; 124(7):1645-7.
PubMed PMID: 24258681