David K. Pitts Ph.D.

David K. Pitts Ph.D.


Associate Professor

Office Location

EACPHS, Room 3124






Pharmaceutical Sciences


Associate Professor Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences  

David K. Pitts Ph.D.

Degrees and Certifications

Michigan State University
1975 Bachelor of Science
Psychology & Biology

Wayne State University
1977 Master of Science

Wayne State University
1985 Doctor of Philosophy

Positions and Employment

2009-Present Co-Director Urban Watershed
Environmental Research Group (UWERG)
Wayne State University
1996-Present Associate Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
Wayne State University
1990-1996 Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions
Wayne State University

Primary Research Interest

Impact of emerging contaminants on physiology & behavior of Daphnia

Regulation of Daphnid cardiorespiratory function (invertebrate)
Neurotoxicty of heavy metal and perinatal drug exposure

Postnatal development of the midbrain dopamine system (vertebrate)

The species, Daphnia pulex (waterflea), is native to the Great Lakes region. Because of their well-known ecology, very short life cycle, large brood size, asexual reproduction (cloning), sequenced genome (Fleabase), and sensitivity to changing environmental conditions (The ecoresponsive genome of Daphnia pulex), this aquatic organism has proved to be very useful for evaluating water quality and water contamination. The translucent exoskeleton enables visualization of internal motor function (video below). The effects of water contaminants on the cardiorespiratory function and behavior of Daphnia are being studied by a team of UWERG investigators at Wayne State University.

Daphnia pulex. Click here to see a video depicting the motor activity of this translucent organism. You can observe the movement of a beating single chamber heart, internal beating appendages used for filter feeding and respiration, gut contractions, the extension of an anal claw, a vibrating single eye, a moving mandible, and external swimming antennae.


Research website