Photo of Balserak, Bilgay Izci

Bilgay Izci Balserak, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science

Pronouns: Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

638 NURS


845 S. Damen Ave., MC 802, Chicago, IL 60612

Office Phone:



Dr. Izci Balserak’s research focuses on sleep disturbances including sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), circadian misalignment, and their relationship to adverse health outcomes, with particular interest in women's health (including childbearing and midlife women). 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 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.  She is currently working on a pilot research project titled “Sleep B.E.T.T.E.R. Lifestyle Counselling During Pregnancy”.

Dr. Izci Balserak is happy to supervise PhD students who wish to study sleep disturbances including sleep-disordered breathing, circadian misalignment and their relationship to adverse health outcomes especially in women (including childbearing and midlife women).


Selected Grants

NHLBI Institutional Training, T32 Postdoctoral Training Grant. Training in Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Allan Pack, PI, Post-doctoral Fellow

NIH-NINR, Sleep Related Determinants of Gestational Diabetes (K99/R00), PI

Selected Publications

(name in italics is the senior author)

Al-Khafaji H, Izci-Balserak B., Tamim H, Assaf G. Knowledge and attitude of primary care physicians towards obstructive sleep apnea in the Middle East and North Africa region. Sleep Breath. 2020. doi: 10.1007/s11325-020-02137-7

Zhu, B., Bronas, UG, Carley, DW, Lee, K, Steffen, A, Kapella, MC, Izci‐Balserak B. Relationships between objective sleep parameters and inflammatory biomarkers in pregnancy. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 2020. doi:10.1111/nyas.14375

Zhu B, Chen X, Park CG, Zhu D, Izci-Balserak B. Fatigue and Sleep Quality Predict Eating Behavior Among People with Type 2 Diabetes. Nursing Research. 2020. DOI: 10.1097/nnr.0000000000000447.

Zhu, B, Feng T, Izci-Balserak B. Using Research Electronic Data Capture for Longitudinal Assessment Among Older Adults With Diabetes Enhances Real-Time Data Collection, CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: June 25, 2020 – Volume Publish Ahead of Print – Issue – doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000641

Izci-Balserak B, Pien G, Mastrogiannis D, Park C, Quinn L. Prasad B, Herdegen J, Carley D. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with newly-diagnosed gestational diabetes mellitus. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2020., PMID:32040334.

Izci Balserak B. Sleep-disordered Breathing in Pregnancy Part 1.  Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019 Nov 1;200(9):P18-P19. doi: 10.1164/rccm.2009P18. PMID:31674822 (Peer-Reviewed).

Izci Balserak B, Zhu B, Gurubhagavatula I, Keenan BT, Pien GW. A Screening Algorithm for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2019;16(10):1286-1294. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201902-131OC. PMID: 31162952.

Izci Balserak B, Keenan BT, Corbitt C, Staley B, Perlis M, Pien GW. Changes in sleep characteristics and breathing parameters during sleep in early and late pregnancy. J Clin Sleep Med. 14(7):1161–1168, 2018.

Izci Balserak B, Zhu, B., Grandner, M., Jackson, N., Pien, G. Obstructive sleep apnea in pregnancy: Performance of a rapid screening tool. Sleep and Breathing., 2018.

Zhu, Sauer R, Wu L, Simon L, Shah K, Khainark U, Izci Balserak B. Objective sleep in pregnant women: a comparison of actigraphy and polysomnography. Sleep Health. 4(5):390–396, 2018.

Reutrakul S, Anothaisintawee T, Herring S, Marc I, Izci Balserak B, Thakkinstian A. Short sleep duration and hyperglycemia in pregnancy: Aggregate and individual patient data meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev. 2017. PMID:29103944.

Grandner MA, Jackson NJ, Izci Balserak B, Gallagher RA, Murray-Bachmann R, Williams NJ, Patel NP, Jean-Louis G. Social and Behavioral Determinants of Perceived Insufficient Sleep. Front Neurol.6:112, 2015. PMCID: PMC4456880.

Izci Balserak B. Sleep Disordered Breathing in Pregnancy. Breathe (official journal of the European Respiratory Society). 11:268–277, 2015.


Izci Balserak B. Sleep Disordered Breathing in Pregnancy. Breathe (official journal of the European Respiratory Society). 11:268–277, 2015.

Service to Community

Guest editor for a special Issue "Diagnosis and Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea" in Diagnostics (current Impact Factor: 3.110)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is repeated upper airway obstruction (complete/partial) caused by a loss of upper airway muscle tone during sleep, resulting in intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation. OSA with daytime sleepiness affects 3–7% of men and 2–5% of women. OSA is more common in men, post-menopausal women, obese, and middle-aged or older individuals. Untreated OSA has been linked to increased risk of multiple adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular diseases, neurocognitive impairment, metabolic syndrome and gestational diabetes. The diagnosis of OSA is challenging. It is estimated that up to 80% of individuals remain undiagnosed. The first obstacle is the recognition of risk for OSA. Sleep studies (polysomnogram (PSG) and home sleep apnea testing (HSAT)) are considered positive for OSA if the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) exceeds five events per hour.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a very effective treatment for OSA, but poor adherence significantly limits its use. Mandibular advancement devices and hypoglossal nerve stimulation are alternative treatments in patients who cannot tolerate CPAP. Weight-loss surgery, dietary weight-loss and exercise have been shown to improve OSA. There has been no effective pharmacotherapy, but promising drug candidates are emerging. Personalized medicine approaches are also being developed to guide OSA interventions.

For an upcoming Special Issue in Diagnostics entitled “The Diagnosis and Management of OSA”, we aim to gather a collection of comprehensive reviews and cutting-edge research from translational and clinical viewpoints that will stimulate continuing efforts to develop better diagnostic strategies and therapies for OSA (clinical studies will be given priority). We welcome submissions on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers;
  • Diagnostic or prognostic scoring;
  • Precision medicine;
  • Predictors of treatment responses;
  • Novel therapeutic approaches;
  • Novel diagnostic techniques, including imaging techniques;
  • Diagnosis of OSA and treatment of OSA in women (e.g., pregnant and post-menopausal women);
  • Diagnosis and treatment of OSA in children;
  • Diagnosis and treatment of OSA in mission-critical workers (e.g., airline pilots, bus drivers, police, military posts etc.);
  • Novel aspects of CPAP treatment and interventions to improve CPAP adherence;
  • Oral appliances in OSA: state-of-the-art;
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation: novel approaches.

Dr. Bilgay Izci Balserak
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diagnostics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • oral appliance
  • CPAP
  • lifestyle interventions
  • adherence
  • women’s sleep apnea
  • pediatrics
  • home sleep apnea testing
  • imaging techniques
  • novel diagnostics

This special issue is now open for submission