Seminar Series: Teresa Pitts, Ph.D. (Univ. of Missouri)

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Tuesday, 05 March, 2024 - 9:30 am to Tuesday, 05 March, 2024 - 10:30 am


Associate Professor and Chair of the Speech Language and Hearing Sciences Department, University of Missouri

Dr. Teresa Pitts is currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Speech Language and Hearing Sciences at the University of Missouri- Columbia.  She received her bachelor and masters of art degrees in Communicative Disorders at the University of Central Florida, and completed a master’s thesis with Bari Hoffman-Ruddy PhD.  She completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of Florida, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, where her studies focused on the study of airway protection in patients with Parkinson’s disease with Christine Sapienza, PhD.  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.  Pertinent findings included the viability of using voluntary cough to detect at-risk patients for swallowing disorders, and then treating those at-risk patients with Expiratory Muscle Strength Training which improved cough and swallowing safety scores.   As a post-doctoral fellow Dr Pitts 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. At the University of Louisville, in the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, she moved her area of focus into the spinal cord, examining the spinal pathways that are important for the regulation of swallow. Now at Mizzou she hopes to development novel treatments for dysphagia and get people back to the table with their families.

Talk Title:  The ever expanding swallow pattern generator

Location:  Kent Campus, Integrated Sciences Building Lower-Level Lobby (069)