Department of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh
Bruce A. Pitt, PhD
Professor and Chair, Environmental and Occupational Health
100 Technology Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-624-8400


BA (Human Biology), Brown University, 1970.
PhD (Cardiopulmonary Physiology) Johns Hopkins University, 1977.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University, 1977-78.

Research Areas
Signal Transduction
Photo of Bruce A. Pitt, PhD

Dr. Pitt's laboratory efforts are directed towards original studies on the molecular and cellular biology of lung. To date, this work has focused primarily on the role of oxidants and nitric oxide in affecting pulmonary endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell function. Isolated primary cell cultures, genetically modified murine models and somatic gene transfer to lung have been used as model systems to identify the role of partially reduced oxygen and nitrogen species in the response of the lung to stress and injury.


Recent efforts have been directed towards understanding the role of S-nitrosylation of the metal binding intracellular protein, metallothoinein, on zinc homeostasis and endothelial cell function. These studies are aided by a number of microspectrofluorometric approaches including a green fluorescent protein modified chimera of metallothionein, suitable for fluorescence resonance energy transfer, as outlined in the schema below. This chimera contains an enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECYP) that serves as a donor for an enhanced yellow flourescence protein (EYFP) that are fused to the N- and C-termini respectively of human metallothionein Iia (hMTIIa). The result of these live cell fluorescence image studies has identified a unique role for metallothionein in NO mediated zinc release. NO mediated changes in labile zinc appear to be inhibitory in proapoptotic conditions in pulmonary endothelial cells contributing to the notion that S-nitrosylation of zinc sulfur clusters is an important component of NO signaling.


Dr. Pitt’s faculty site address is

Important Publications
Bernal PJ, EM Bauer, R Cao, S Maniar, M Mosher, J Chen, QJ Wang, JC Glorioso, BR Pitt, SC Watkins and CM St. Croix.  A role for zinc in regulating hypoxia-induced contractile events in pulmonary endothelium.  Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2011 Mar 4.
Thambiayya K, KJ Wasserloos, Z Huang, VE Kagan, CM St. Croix and BR Pitt.  LPS-induced decrease in intracellular labile zinc [Zni] contributes to apoptosis in cultured sheep pulmonary artery endothelial cells (SPAEC).  Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2011 Jan 14.
Li HH, J Xu, KJ Wasserloos, J Li, YY Tyurina, VE Kagan, X Wang, AF Chen, ZQ Liu, D Stoyanovsky, BR Pitt and LM Zhang.  Cytoprotective effects of albumin, nitrosated or reduced, in cultured rat pulmonary vascular cells.  Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2011 Jan 14.
Phillippi JA, MA Eskay, AA Kubala, BR Pitt and TG Gleason.  Altered oxidative stress responses and increased type I collagen expression in bicuspid aortic valve patients.  Ann Thorac Surg 90:1893-1898, 2010.
John E, TC Laskow, WJ Buchser, BR Pitt, PH Basse, LH Butterfield, P Kalinsky and MT Lotze.  Zinc in innate and adaptive tumor immunity.  J Transl Med 8:118, 2010.

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