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


  • Diploma with Honors in Physics (Equivalent to MS degree), I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), 1984
  • PhD in in Applied Physics (Emphasis on Health Physics), Idaho State University (Pocatello, Idaho), 2011

About Me

I am an Assistant Research Professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Washington State University.

I earned my Diploma (with Honors) in Physics (Equivalent to Master of Science) at I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia in 1984, majoring in Experimental Nuclear Physics. After graduation, I joined the research group at the Radiocarbon and Low-Level Counting Section (RLLCS) of Tbilisi State University (TSU). In 1986-1990, my research was focused on studying the variations of cosmogenic and anthropogenic 14C concentrations in atmospheric air and biota. This study was conducted in collaboration with the Physics Department of Bratislava University (Slovakia). I was also involved in radiocarbon dating activities funded by the Archeological Research Center of Georgian Academy of Science. From 1997 to 2002, I was involved in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Regional Project “Marine Environmental Assessment of the Black Sea Region.” In 2002-2009, I was involved as a research associate in a number of cooperative research projects jointly implemented by Idaho State University Physics Department and RLLCS: Advanced Accelerator Applications – Dose Conversion Coefficients project funded by the US Department of Energy; Independent Radiological Monitoring program in cooperation with ISU Environmental Monitoring Laboratory; Tbilisi Radon Assessment Initiative supported by the US Civil Research and Development Foundation.

In 2006, I was awarded a scholarship for doctoral study in Health Physics at Idaho State University. The main objective of my dissertation was to study the lung clearance patterns for refractory plutonium particles using the human data available from tissue donors to the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR). I earned my PhD in Applied Physics with an emphasis of Health Physics in 2011. In January 2012, I joined the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences as a Research Associate at the USTUR and was promoted to Assistant Research Professor in 2017.

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 current research focuses on modeling of actinide biokinetics using human data from former nuclear workers, volunteer donors to the USTUR, with accidental internal depositions of actinide elements. By way of background, 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 1) 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); 2) to evaluate uncertainties in internal dose estimates; and 3) to investigate effects and mechanisms of actinide decorporation using chelating agents. I currently serve on NCRP scientific committee (SC) 6-12 on development of models for brain dosimetry for internally deposited radionuclides. I am also actively involved in the Million Person Study (MPS) – collaborative radiation epidemiology study of low-dose health effects – designed to evaluate radiation risks among healthy American workers and veterans.

In my spare time I like to…

I enjoy International Folk Dancing, Zumba, and reading science fiction.

Why WSU?

The United States Transuranium and Uranium Registires 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

Poudel D, Avtandilashvili M, Bertelli L, Klumpp J, Tolmachev SY. Long-term retention of plutonium in the respiratory tracts of two acutely-exposed workers: Estimation of bound fraction. Health Physics; Published ahead-of-print; 2020. DOI: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001311.

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

Breustedt B, Avtandilashvili M, McComish SL, Tolmachev SY. USTUR Case 0846: Modeling americium biokinetics after intensive decorporation therapy. Health Physics 117(2): 168-178; 2019.

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.

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

Dumit S, Avtandilashvili M, Tolmachev SY. Evaluating plutonium intake and radiation dose following extensive chelation treatment. Health Physics 117(2): 156-167; 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.

Avtandilashvili M, Brey R, Birchall A. Application of Bayesian inference to the bioassay data from long-term follow-up of two refractory PuO2 inhalation cases. Health Physics 104(4): 394-404; 2013.

Avtandilashvili M, Brey R, James AC. Maximum likelihood analysis of bioassay data from long-term follow-up of two refractory PuO2 inhalation cases. Health Physics 103(1): 70-79; 2012.