Hristelina S. Ilieva, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department(s) of Neurology
Section: Neruomuscular
Saint Luke's Hospital
Education and Background

M.D. - Higer Medical Institute
Ph.D. - Okayamam Daigaku Igakubu
Internship - Houston Methodist Hospital
Residency - Neurology - Houston Methodist Hospital
Fellowship - Neuromuscular Medicine - Johns Hopkins University

Meet Hristelina Ilieva


Dr. Ilieva specializes in adult neuromuscular disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), peripheral neuropathies, neuromuscular junction disorders, and muscle diseases.

She has achieved a broad and comprehensive training in neurology and neuroscience with emphasis on neurodegenerative diseases. She received her medical degree from Higher Medical Institute-Plovdiv in Bulgaria and PhD from Okayama University in Japan. She then expanded her skills during a post-doctoral fellowship at University of California, San Diego. She completed a residency at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute and neuromuscular fellowship at Johns Hopkins, Department of Neuromuscular Medicine. She worked as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Neuromuscular Division of Johns Hopkins and additionally received training at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Ilieva has an interest in translating basic science knowledge and advances into therapies which could one day delay the progression of currently incurable conditions like ALS. Some of the stepping stones to achieve this goal will be to develop sound knowledge about possible disease biomarkers and to better understand factors that cause variability in disease presentation and progression.

Additionally, in collaboration with Dr. John Spertus at the Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Dr. Ilieva and the neurology team at the Saint Luke’s Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute will develop neurology-focused outcomes research.

Recent Publications

Jensen BK, McAvoy KJ, Heinsinger NM, Lepore AC, Ilieva H, Haeusler AR, Trotti D, Pasinelli P. Targeting TNFα produced by astrocytes expressing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-linked mutant fused in sarcoma prevents neurodegeneration and motor dysfunction in mice. (2022). Glia, 70 (7), 1426-1449. Journal Article.

Paganoni S, Berry JD, Quintana M, Macklin E, Saville BR, Detry MA, Chase M, Sherman AV, Yu H, Drake K, Andrews J, Shefner J, Chibnik LB, Vestrucci M, Cudkowicz ME, Healey ALS Platform Trial Study Group. Adaptive Platform Trials to Transform Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Therapy Development. (2022). Annals of neurology, 91 (2), 165-175. Journal Article, Review.

Pinilla G, Kumar A, Floaters MK, Pardo CA, Rothstein J, Ilieva H. Increased synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines in C9ORF72 patients. (2021). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis & frontotemporal degeneration, 22 (7-8), 517-527. Journal Article.

Ilieva HS, Newman JW, Fields RK, Croom JE. Valproic acid and zonisamide induced hyperammonemic encephalopathy. (2020). Clinical neurology and neurosurgery, 196 105894. Journal Article.

Ling SC, Dastidar SG, Tokunaga S, Ho WY, Lim K, Ilieva H, Parone PA, Tyan SH, Tse TM, Chang JC, Platoshyn O, Bui NB, Bui A, Vetto A, Sun S, McAlonis-Downes M, Han JS, Swing D, Kapeli K, Yeo GW, Tessarollo L, Marsala M, Shaw CE, Tucker-Kellogg G, La Spada AR, Lagier-Tourenne C, Da Cruz S, Cleveland DW. Overriding FUS autoregulation in mice triggers gain-of-toxic dysfunctions in RNA metabolism and autophagy-lysosome axis. (2019). eLife, 8 Journal Article.

Ilieva H, Maragakis NJ. Motoneuron Disease: Clinical. (2017). Advances in neurobiology, 15 191-210. Journal Article, Review.

Ilieva H, Maragakis NJ. Motoneuron Disease: Basic Science. (2017). Advances in neurobiology, 15 163-190. Journal Article, Review.

Watanabe S, Ilieva H, Tamada H, Nomura H, Komine O, Endo F, Jin S, Mancias P, Kiyama H, Yamanaka K. Mitochondria-associated membrane collapse is a common pathomechanism in SIGMAR1- and SOD1-linked ALS. (2016). EMBO molecular medicine, 8 (12), 1421-1437. Journal Article.

Foust KD, Salazar DL, Likhite S, Ferraiuolo L, Ditsworth D, Ilieva H, Meyer K, Schmelzer L, Braun L, Cleveland DW, Kaspar BK. Therapeutic AAV9-mediated suppression of mutant SOD1 slows disease progression and extends survival in models of inherited ALS. (2013). Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, 21 (12), 2148-59. Journal Article.

Israelson A, Arbel N, Da Cruz S, Ilieva H, Yamanaka K, Shoshan-Barmatz V, Cleveland DW. Misfolded mutant SOD1 directly inhibits VDAC1 conductance in a mouse model of inherited ALS. (2010). Neuron, 67 (4), 575-87. Journal Article.

Ilieva H, Polymenidou M, Cleveland DW. Non-cell autonomous toxicity in neurodegenerative disorders: ALS and beyond. (2009). The Journal of cell biology, 187 (6), 761-72. Journal Article, Review.

Zhong Z, Ilieva H, Hallagan L, Bell R, Singh I, Paquette N, Thiyagarajan M, Deane R, Fernandez JA, Lane S, Zlokovic AB, Liu T, Griffin JH, Chow N, Castellino FJ, Stojanovic K, Cleveland DW, Zlokovic BV. Activated protein C therapy slows ALS-like disease in mice by transcriptionally inhibiting SOD1 in motor neurons and microglia cells. (2009). The Journal of clinical investigation, 119 (11), 3437-49. Journal Article.