Dr. Ay is an Assistant Professor at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has a broad background in vascular pharmacology with fellowship training in neuroscience at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Ay’s 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. Her laboratory has pioneered the research on using vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in experimental models of acute stroke. They have shown that VNS using surgically implanted electrodes reduces lesion size in rats. Given that any therapy that requires surgery is a nonstarter in the setting of acute stroke, they have started testing minimally invasive and non-invasive VNS approaches in acute stroke models. As a direct result of her studies, a multicenter phase-II trial has been launched to test the safety and feasibility of VNS in acute human stroke.


MD in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Hacettepe University, Turkey
PhD in Pharmacology, Hacettepe University, Turkey

Select Publications

1. Ay I, Lu J, Ay H, Gregory Sorensen A. Vagus nerve stimulation reduces infarct size in rat focal cerebral ischemia. Neurosci Lett. 2009;459(3):147–151.

2. 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;8(1):7–12.

3. Ay I, Nasser R, Simon B, Ay H. Transcutaneous Cervical Vagus Nerve Stimulation Ameliorates Acute Ischemic Injury in Rats. Brain Stimul. 2016;9(2):166–173.


2010: Scientist Development Award, American Heart Association

2015: Best Paper Award: Basic Science, Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging


The Caravan Lab