Bilgay Izci Balserak, MS, PhD

  • Assistant Professor

Dr. Izci-Balserak is an assistant professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science, College of Nursing. She is also a member of the Center for Narcolepsy, Sleep and Health Research.  Dr. Izci Balserak’s research focuses on women's health (including childbearing and midlife women) with an emphasis on sleep disturbances and their relevance to adverse health outcomes (i.e. cardiometabolic health outcomes). Her specific research attention is dedicated to (1) determining the sleep-related determinants of adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes (i.e. pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and intrauterine growth retardation), (2) identifying the risk factors for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), (3) producing a screening tool for SDB in the pregnant population, and (4) developing behavioral interventions to prevent sleep-related metabolic adverse health outcomes.  

Dr. Izci Balserak is funded by a Career Development Award (K99/R00) from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). She completed the K99 phase at University of Pennsylvania where she was a research associate and post-doc (sponsored by NINR and NHLBI) in the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine and in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences in the School of Nursing, prior to her arrival at UIC. Her K99 study (1) investigated whether delta power in non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) changes between the first and third trimesters of pregnancy and (2) evaluated the association of delta power with SDB. Currently she is working on her R00 phase which aims to determine whether sleep disturbances may contribute to gestational diabetes and adverse perinatal outcomes (R00-NR013187).

CV available upon request (click here).

Current Area of Teaching
  • Sleep disorders
  • Women’s health
Selected Honors & Awards
  • Valedictorian, Nursing School of Social Security Organization, Ankara/Turkey, 1988  
  • Salutatorian, Department of Psychology, Ankara University, Ankara/Turkey, 1992    
  • Overseas Students Awards Scheme supporting full-time doctoral studies (highly competitive), UK, 2001-2004
  • NIH-National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. NRSA Fellow (T32HL007713, PI: Allan Pack), 2009-2012
  • Invited participant at American Academy of Sleep Medicine-Young Investigator Forum of NIH, April 2010     
  • Best oral presentation award, 7th Annual Research Retreat for Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at University of Pennsylvania, 2010
  • Nominated for the James Skatrud New Investigator Award in American Thoracic Society, 2013
  • National Institute of Nursing Research Summer Genetics Institute, June 2013
Selected Publications

Izci B, Riha R, Martin S, Venelle M, Liston W, Dundas K, Calder A, Douglas NJ. The Upper Airway in Pregnancy and Pre-eclampsia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 15;167(2):137-40, 2003.

Izci B, Firat H, Ardiç S, Kokturk O, Gelir E, Altinors M. Adaptation of Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ) to Turkish Population. Tuberk Toraks. 52(3):224-30, 2004.

Izci B, McDonald JP, Coleman EL, Mackay TW, Douglas NJ, Engleman HM. Clinical Audit of Subjects with Snoring & Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome Fitted with a Mandibular Repositioning Splint. Respir Med. 99:337–346, 2005.

Izci B, Martin S, Dundas K, Liston W, Calder A, Douglas NJ. Sleep Complaints: Snoring and Daytime sleepiness in Pregnancy and Pre-eclamptic Women. Sleep Med. 6:163–169, 2005.

Li H, Engleman H, Hsu C, Izci B, Vennelle M, Cross M, Douglas NJ. Acoustic reflection for Nasal Airway Measurement in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea/hypopnea Syndrome. Sleep. 1;28(12): 1554-9, 2005.

Izci B, Venelle M, Liston W, Dundas K, Calder A, Douglas NJ. Sleep Disordered Breathing and Upper Airway in Pregnancy and Postpartum. Eur Respir J. 27(2):321-7, 2006.

Izci B, Ardiç S, Firat H, Altinors M, Sahin AA, Karacan I. Reliability and validity studies of the Turkish version of Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Sleep Breath. 12(2):161-68, 2008.

Izci Balserak B, Pien G. Sleep-disordered breathing and pregnancy: potential mechanisms and evidence for maternal and fetal morbidity. Current Opinion in Pulmonary Med. 16(6):574-582, 2010.

Izci Balserak B, Jackson N, Gerstner J, Knutson K, Pien G, Grandner M. Differences in Relationships among Dietary Nutrients and Sleep Symptoms In Pre/Peri-Menopausal versus Post-Menopausal Women. Sleep. 35:A418, 2012.

Izci Balserak B, Jackson N, Gerstner J, Knutson K, Pien G, Grandner M. Gender Differences in Relationships among Dietary Nutrients and Sleep Symptoms in the American Population. Sleep. 35:A418, 2012.

Altman N, Izci Balserak B, Schopfer E, Jackson N, Rattanaumpawan P, Gehrman P, Patel N, Grandner M. Sleep Duration versus Sleep Insufficiency as Predictors of Cardiometabolic Health Outcomes. Sleep Med. 13(10):1261-70, 2012.

Izci Balserak B, Gurubhagavatula I, Keenan B, Pien G. A Screening Algorithm for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy. Sleep. 36:A131, 2013.

Izci Balserak B, Jackson N, Ratcliff S, Pack A, Pien G. Sleep-disordered Breathing and Daytime Napping are Associated with Maternal Hyperglycaemia. Sleep Breath. 17(3):1093-102, 2013.

Izci Balserak B, Pien G. The Relationship and Potential Mechanistic Pathways between Sleep Disturbances and Maternal Hyperglycemia. Curr Dia Rep. 14(2):459, 2014.

Izci-Balserak B, Pack A, Corbitt C, Keenan BT, Maislin G, Perlis M, Pien GW. EEG Spectral Analysis and Changes in Delta Power: The Effects of Sleep-disordered Breathing in Pregnancy. Sleep. 37:A354, 2014.

Izci-Balserak B, Corbitt C, Pack A, Keenan BT, Maislin G, Pien GW, Perlis M. Delta Power between Good and Poor Sleeper in Pregnancy. Sleep. 37:A354, 2014.

Current Research

Sleep-related determinants of gestational diabetes. NIH - National Institute of Nursing Research. Career Development Award (1R00- NR013187), May 2014 – May 2017, Role: PI

The primary aim of this study is to determine whether an increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus is associated with SDB, short sleep duration (<6 hrs) and low percentage of delta power. The secondary aim is to examine whether SDB is associated with increased inflammatory biomarkers such as IL-6 and CRP.