All Contents Copyrighted 2011

Selected Publications:


Pitts RJ, Rinker DC, Jones PL, Rokas A, Zwiebel LJ. Transcriptome profiling of chemosensory appendages in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae reveals tissue- and sex-specific signatures of odor coding. BMC Genomics, 12:271, 2011.


Bohbot, JD, Jones, PL, Wang, G, Pitts, RJ, Pask, GM, Zwiebel, LJ. Conservation of indole responsive odorant receptors in mosquitoes reveals an ancient olfactory trait. Chem Senses, 36(2), 149-60, 2011.


Liu, C, Pitts, RJ, Bohbot, JD, Jones, PL, Wang, G, Zwiebel, LJ. Distinct olfactory signaling mechanisms in the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae. PLoS Biol, 8(8), 2010.


Wang, G, Qiu, YT, Lu, T, Kwon, HW, Pitts, RJ, Van Loon, JJ, Takken, W, Zwiebel, LJ. Anopheles gambiae TRPA1 is a heat-activated channel expressed in thermosensitive sensilla of female antennae. Eur J Neurosci, 30(6), 967-74, 2009.


Xia, Y, Wang, G, Buscariollo, D, Pitts, RJ, Wenger, H, Zwiebel, LJ. The molecular and cellular basis of olfactory-driven behavior in Anopheles gambiae larvae. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105(17), 6433-8, 2008.


Bohbot, J, Pitts, RJ, Kwon, HW, R??tzler, M, Robertson, HM, Zwiebel, LJ. Molecular characterization of the Aedes aegypti odorant receptor gene family. Insect Mol Biol, 16(5), 525-37, 2007.


Lu, T, Qiu, YT, Wang, G, Kwon, JY, Rutzler, M, Kwon, HW, Pitts, RJ, van Loon, JJ, Takken, W, Carlson, JR, Zwiebel, LJ. Odor coding in the maxillary palp of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Curr Biol, 17(18), 1533-44, 2007.


Pitts, RJ, Zwiebel, LJ. Antennal sensilla of two female anopheline sibling species with differing host ranges. Malar J, 5, 26, 2006.


Melo, AC, Rutzler, M, Pitts, RJ, Zwiebel, LJ. Identification of a chemosensory receptor from the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, that is highly conserved and expressed in olfactory and gustatory organs. Chem Senses, 29(5), 403-10, 2004.


Pitts, RJ, Fox, AN, Zwiebel, LJ. A highly conserved candidate chemoreceptor expressed in both olfactory and gustatory tissues in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 101(14), 5058-63, 2004.


Merrill, CE, Pitts, RJ, Zwiebel, LJ. Molecular characterization of arrestin family members in the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Insect Mol Biol, 12(6), 641-50, 2003.


Fox, AN, Pitts, RJ, Zwiebel, LJ. A cluster of candidate odorant receptors from the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. Chem Senses, 27(5), 453-9, 2002.


Merrill, CE, Riesgo-Escovar, J, Pitts, RJ, Kafatos, FC, Carlson, JR, Zwiebel, LJ. Visual arrestins in olfactory pathways of Drosophila and the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99(3), 1633-8, 2002.


Fox, AN, Pitts, RJ, Robertson, HM, Carlson, JR, Zwiebel, LJ. Candidate odorant receptors from the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae and evidence of down-regulation in response to blood feeding. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 98(25), 14693-7, 2001.

Research Interests:


I am interested in answering fundamental questions about the chemical ecology and sensory biology of disease vector insects. Chemoreception is a major driver of multiple insect behaviors, all of which are critical for survival and reproduction. The molecular basis for many peripheral chemoreception events is still poorly understood, although some insect chemoreceptor gene families, such as odorant receptors, have been identified. My research is focused on many aspects of insect chemosensation including novel gene discovery, gene expression analysis, and receptor function. My long-term objective is to contribute to reductions in human disease transmission at the local level by helping to improve the tools that are used for insect-monitoring and control, both in the context of developing novel methods and integrating those methods with existing, effective methods.

Contact Information:

R. Jason Pitts, Ph.D.

Dept. of Biological Sciences

Vanderbilt University

465 21st Ave. S.

Nashville, TN 37232

615-343-3718