Ilknur Ay, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Her main research interest has been on the use of electrical and magnetic stimulation of neural structures to activate the endogenous neuroprotective system in the brain. Dr. Ay’s laboratory has pioneered the research on using vagus nerve stimulation in experimental models of acute stroke.



Select Publications

  • Park KY, Ay I, Avery R, Caceres JA, Siket MS, Pontes-Neto OM, Zheng H, Rost NS, Furie KL, Sorensen AG, Koroshetz WJ, Ay H. New biomarker for acute ischaemic stroke: plasma glycogen phosphorylase isoenzyme BB. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2018 Apr; 89(4):404-409. PMID: 29030420.
  • Chen SP, Ay I, de Morais AL, Qin T, Zheng Y, Sadeghian H, Oka F, Simon B, Eikermann-Haerter K, Ayata C. Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cortical spreading depression. Pain. 2016 Apr; 157(4):797-805. PMID: 26645547; PMCID: PMC4943574 [Available on 04/01/17].
  • Gale EM, Atanasova IP, Blasi F, Ay I, Caravan P. A Manganese Alternative to Gadolinium for MRI Contrast. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Dec 16; 137(49):15548-57. PMID: 26588204; PMCID: PMC4764508 [Available on 12/16/16].
  • Ay I, Nasser R, Simon B, Ay H. Transcutaneous Cervical Vagus Nerve Stimulation Ameliorates Acute Ischemic Injury in Rats. Brain Stimul. 2016 Mar-Apr; 9(2):166-73. PMID: 26723020; PMCID: PMC4789082 [Available on 03/01/17].
  • Ay I, Napadow V, Ay H. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve dermatome in the external ear is protective in rat cerebral ischemia. Brain Stimul. 2015 Jan-Feb; 8(1):7-12. PMID: 25312600; PMCID: PMC4277719.
  • Blasi F, Oliveira BL, Rietz TA, Rotile NJ, Day H, Looby RJ, Ay I, Caravan P. Effect of Chelate Type and Radioisotope on the Imaging Efficacy of 4 Fibrin-Specific PET Probes. J Nucl Med. 2014 Jul; 55(7):1157-63. PMID: 24790217; PMCID: PMC4216633.
  • Ay I, Blasi F, Rietz TA, Rotile NJ, Kura S, Brownell AL, Day H, Oliveira BL, Looby RJ, Caravan P. In vivo molecular imaging of thrombosis and thrombolysis using a fibrin-binding positron emission tomographic probe. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jul; 7(4):697-705. PMID: 24777937; PMCID: PMC4102658.
  • Ciesienski KL, Yang Y, Ay I, Chonde DB, Loving GS, Rietz TA, Catana C, Caravan P. Fibrin-targeted PET probes for the detection of thrombi. Mol Pharm. 2013 Mar 04; 10(3):1100-10. PMID: 23327109; PMCID: PMC3593967.
  • Ay I, Ay H. Ablation of the sphenopalatine ganglion does not attenuate the infarct reducing effect of vagus nerve stimulation. Auton Neurosci. 2013 Mar; 174(1-2):31-5. PMID: 23273773; PMCID: PMC3632317.
  • Ay I, Sorensen AG, Ay H. Vagus nerve stimulation reduces infarct size in rat focal cerebral ischemia: an unlikely role for cerebral blood flow. Brain Res. 2011 May 25; 1392:110-5. PMID: 21458427; PMCID: PMC3293221.
  • Uppal R, Catana C, Ay I, Benner T, Sorensen AG, Caravan P. Bimodal thrombus imaging: simultaneous PET/MR imaging with a fibrin-targeted dual PET/MR probe–feasibility study in rat model. Radiology. 2011 Mar; 258(3):812-20. PMID: 21177389; PMCID: PMC3042637.
  • Uppal R, Ay I, Dai G, Kim YR, Sorensen AG, Caravan P. Molecular MRI of intracranial thrombus in a rat ischemic stroke model. Stroke. 2010 Jun; 41(6):1271-7. PMID: 20395615; PMCID: PMC2876212.
  • Li J, Chian RJ, Ay I, Kashi BB, Celia SA, Tamrazian E, Pepinsky RB, Fishman PS, Brown RH, Francis JW. Insect GDNF:TTC fusion protein improves delivery of GDNF to mouse CNS. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Dec 18; 390(3):947-51. PMID: 19852934.
  • Chian RJ, Li J, Ay I, Celia SA, Kashi BB, Tamrazian E, Matthews JC, Bronson RT, Rossomando A, Pepinsky RB, Fishman PS, Brown RH, Francis JW. IGF-1:tetanus toxin fragment C fusion protein improves delivery of IGF-1 to spinal cord but fails to prolong survival of ALS mice. Brain Res. 2009 Sep 01; 1287:1-19. PMID: 19563785.
  • Li J, Chian RJ, Ay I, Celia SA, Kashi BB, Tamrazian E, Matthews JC, Remington MP, Pepinsky RB, Fishman PS, Brown RH, Francis JW. Recombinant GDNF: tetanus toxin fragment C fusion protein produced from insect cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jul 31; 385(3):380-4. PMID: 19465006.
  • Ay I, Lu J, Ay H, Gregory Sorensen A. Vagus nerve stimulation reduces infarct size in rat focal cerebral ischemia. Neurosci Lett. 2009 Aug 14; 459(3):147-51. PMID: 19446004.