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Maia Avtandilashvili

Maia Avtandilashvili
Associate Professor, USTUR 509-946-6870 SUITE 201 Richland

Education and Certifications

  • Diploma with Honors in Physics (Equivalent to MS degree), I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia)
  • PhD in in Applied Physics (Emphasis on Health Physics), Idaho State University (Pocatello, Idaho)

About Me

I am an Assistant Research Professor at the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR) in the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. I am a physicist by training. I earned my Diploma (with Honors) in Physics (Equivalent to Master of Science) at I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia, majoring in Experimental Nuclear Physics, and PhD in Applied Physics, with emphasis on Health Physics, from Idaho State University in the United States.

My current area of research interests and expertise is in the field of health physics and radiological protection. The main objective of my research at the USTUR is to refine the radiation dose assessment methods for actinide elements, such as uranium, plutonium, americium, as the basis for reliable epidemiological studies, risk projection, and credible standards for radiological protection.

My research focuses on modeling of actinide biokinetics using unique human data from former nuclear workers, volunteer tissue donors to the USTUR, with accidental internal depositions of actinides. Biokinetic models provide a mathematical representation of the movement of radioactive material within the body; specifically, how these radioactive elements enter the body, where they are deposited, how they are translocated and retained in the specific tissues and organs, and finally, how they are eliminated from the body. I apply advanced statistical analysis methods to bioassay and tissue radiochemical analysis data from the USTUR donors to test, validate, and improve biokinetic models for radiological protection developed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), as well as to investigate effects and mechanisms of actinide decorporation using chelating agents.

As a research faculty at the USTUR, I have contributed to national and international collaborative research projects by providing my expertise in biokinetic modeling and internal dosimetry. I am actively involved in the Million Person Study – collaborative radiation epidemiology study of low-dose health effects – designed to evaluate radiation risks among healthy American workers and veterans. In 2018-2021, I served on NCRP scientific committee (SC) 6-12 on models for brain dosimetry for internally deposited radionuclides. Currently, I serve on NCRP SC 6-13 on models and methods for estimating organ doses from intakes of radium. I am also an active member of the European Radiation Dosimetry Group (EURADOS) Working Group 7 (WG7) on internal dosimetry. In 2022, I was invited to contribute to the joint task group of EURADOS WG7 and World Health Organization’s Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network on radiation dose assessment in cases of internal radioactive contamination through wounds.

In my spare time I like to…

I enjoy international folk dancing, aerobics, and reading science fiction.

Why WSU?

The United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries at WSU is the unique program to study biokinetics of actinides. I don’t know any other program or research facility where I could utilize my expertise so comprehensively and effectively.


1999: International Atomic Energy Agency Fellowship for on-the-job training at a number of leading research centers in Germany in the field of analytical chemistry and environmental radioactivity monitoring.

2007-2008: Health Physics Society (HPS) Burton J. Moyer Fellowship; the highest ranking HPS fellowship awarded yearly to support full-time entering or continuing graduate students enrolled in bona fide US graduate programs in health physics

Selected Publications

Leggett RW, Tolmachev SY, Avtandilashvili M, Eckerman KF, Sgouros G, Woloschak GE. NCRP Commentary 31: Development of kinetic and anatomical models for brain dosimetry for internally deposited radionuclides. Bethesda, MD, USA: National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements; 2022.

Poudel D, Avtandilashvili M, Bertelli L, Klumpp J, Tolmachev SY. Modelling the long-term retention of plutonium in the human respiratory tract using scar-tissue compartments. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 196(3-4): 167-183; 2021.

Šefl M, Zhou JY, Avtandilashvili M, McComish SL, Tolmachev SY. Plutonium in Manhattan Project workers: using autopsy data to evaluate organ content and dose estimates based on urine bioassay with implications for radiation epidemiology. PLOS One 16(10): e0259057; 2021.

Avtandilashvili M, Tolmachev SY. Four-decade follow up of plutonium contaminated puncture wound treated with Ca-DTPA. Journal of Radiological Protection 41(4): 1122-1144; 2021.

Dumit S, Avtandilashvili M, McComish SL, Strom DJ, Tabatadze G, Tolmachev SY. Validation of a system of models for plutonium decorporation therapy. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics 58(2): 227-235; 2019.

Avtandilashvili M, Tolmachev SY. Modeling skeleton weight of an adult Caucasian man. Health Physics 117(2): 149-155; 2019.

Dumit S, Avtandilashvili M, Strom DJ, McComish SL, Tabatadze G, Tolmachev SY. Improved modeling of Plutonium-DTPA decorporation. Radiation Research 191: 201-210; 2019.

Avtandilashvili M, Dumit S, Tolmachev SY. USTUR Whole-Body Case 0212: 17-year follow-up of plutonium contaminated wound. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 178(2): 160-169; 2018.

Avtandilashvili M, Puncher M, McComish SL, Tolmachev SY. US Transuranium and Uranium Registries case study on accidental exposure to uranium hexafluoride. Journal of Radiological Protection 35(1): 129-151; 2015.