On 15th July,
the Academic Council of MU - Varna elected Assoc. Prof. Diana Georgieva Ivanova,
DSc, to take the academic position “Professor” in the scientific field
Assoc. Prof. Ivanova's research activities are diverse in themes, rich and original in content and conclusions. The studies on the antioxidant activity of Bulgarian medicinal plants and the related to it biological effects are among the main research interests of Prof. Ivanova. The defended dissertations in this field (Diana Ivanova – the award of the degree "Doctor of Science" in June 2013 and Yoana Kiselova-Kaneva – the award of ESD "Doctor" in Biochemistry in 2011) have scientific and practical contributions. Screening of the Bulgarian medicinal plants for the presence of antioxidant activity and the existence of polyphenols in aqueous or aqueous-alcoholic extracts has been conducted for the first time and it has been proved that the antioxidant activity is strictly dependent on the quantitative content of polyphenols (important antioxidants, which protect the cell membranes and the DNA, preventing certain mutations that cause cancer). Effects on the gene expression of redox-sensitive genes have been established and the first scientific data on antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anti-diabetes effect of Agrimonia eupatoria – (flagellum), Sambucus ebulus – (elder) and Cotinus coggygria – (sumac) have been obtained. The potential of the flagellum and sumac to affect the mechanisms, related to the expression of insulin resistance in two ways: a direct effect on the gene expression and indirectly by inhibiting the factors that support the low-grade inflammation has been established. It has been proved that the herbs flagellum and elder improve the lipid profile in humans, and the sumac - in animals, evidence of the potential of the herbs in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. A significant contribution represents the proposed algorithm for the study of medicinal plants by combining the two approaches and the application of modern molecular biology methods: (1) In vitro- to determine the antioxidant activity and the phytochemical composition, 2) In vivo studies in cell cultures, experimental animals and humans.
Оbesity and metabolic syndrome in the Bulgarian population is another area in which Prof. Ivanova operates. Under her supervision, the defense of the dissertation thesis, entitled "The Role of Genetic Factors and Lifestyle for the Manifestation of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in a Sample of the Bulgarian Population" by Assoc. Prof. Deyana Vankova from the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Medicine and Nutrigenomics for the award of the ESD "Doctor" in Biochemistry, is about to take place in 2013. This scientific work, involving several research units of Medical University - Varna, includes 182 volunteers, examined in the period 2008 – 2012.
Prof. Ivanova conducts and implements research on the mechanisms of C1q * component of the complement system by which it participates in the pathology of lupus nephritis (an autoimmune disease, affecting the kidneys). For the first time, under the supervision of Prof. Ivanova, the functional deficit of C1q, associated with its normal plasma levels, has been discovered and characterized. A dissertation thesis, entitled "Study of the Molecular Effects of Inhibition of C1q in Patients with Lupus Nephritis" for the award of the ESD "Doctor" in Biochemistry to Maria Radanova was defended in 2011.
The team, working under the supervision of Prof. DSc Diana Ivanova, continues to investigate the biological effects of scarcely investigated Bulgarian medicinal plants in order to identify their potential health resource for the prevention and treatment of socially significant diseases.