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Dora Ilyasova

Associate Consulting Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Family Medicine and Community Health, Prevention Research
Box 2715 Medical Center, DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
Hock Plaza Building, Box 2715 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710


My research is in two areas: studies of the role of oxidative status in etiology of cancer and epidemiology of glioma.
I. Oxidative Status as a Susceptibility Factor
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced constantly by normal metabolism. As a result, exposure to ROS is ubiquitous, and consequently a certain level of oxidative damage is always present in any individual. To protect cells from excessive oxidation, humans, like all aerobic organisms, have developed multiple anti-oxidant defense systems. These two opposing processes – oxidation and anti-oxidant defense – determine the inner redox environment, or “oxidative status” of an individual.
Focus on Oxidative Status in Human Populations: Oxidative status can be measured by biomarkers, specifically by the levels of non-enzymatic oxidative modifications. We demonstrated that individuals differ in their oxidative status. We studied the relationships between oxidative indices and inflammation. We also showed that in contrast to the existing hypothesis, high oxidative status is associated with the lower risk of diabetes. How the levels of these biomarkers of oxidative status relate to cancer susceptibility remains unknown. This is the central theme of my research.
II. Response to Low-Dose Radiation in Studies of Cancer Susceptibility
We recently received a grant from the National Brain Foundation (Il’yasova, PI) to individual response to low-dose radiation. Studies of low-dose radiation have two important aspects. First, medical diagnostic radiation is a highly prevalent exposure to low-dose radiation. The increasing prevalence of computerized tomography (CT) scans emphasizes the question of whether diagnostic radiation has adverse health effects. Second, low-dose radiation (0.1-0.5Gy) models the low-level oxidative disturbance typical for environmental carcinogens.
In this study we use circulating mesenchymal progenitor cells (cMPC). cMPC will be isolated from different individuals, cultured, and exposed to low-dose radiation. The response is measured as percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis and as clonogenic survival. This work is perfoemd in collaboration with Dr, Michael Zalutsky (Duke University Medical Center) and Dr. Shay Soker (Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine).
III. Epidemiology of Adult Glioma
Dr. Il’yasova participates in two multi-center studies of adult glioma. The Duke Brain SPORE Epidemiological study focuses on gene environment interaction between exposure to neurocarcinogens and metabolizing enzymes. Her accomplishments include increasing response rate among cases from 50% to 74% and introducing procedure for recruitment of hospital-based controls with the response rate of 90%. Currently, she is working on several manuscripts analyzing the data obtained in this study .
Dr. Il’yasova is the PI at Duke for the international study of genetic predisposition to glioma – GLIOGENE. This study is the result of collaboration developed within the Brain Tumor Epidemiological Consortium (BTEC). As the one of the Pis of GLIOGENE and as a member of BTEC, she participated in several publications.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Associate Consulting Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health · 2013 - Present Family Medicine and Community Health, Prevention Research, Family Medicine and Community Health

Education, Training & Certifications

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 2001 Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 1999 M.S.P.H.