Azliyati "Yati" Azizan , PhD, MSc, BSc

Associate Professor
Azliyati Azizan
Basic Sciences
(702) 777-1899

Start Biography

Dr. Azliyati Azizan originally is from Malaysia, and first came to the US in 1980 to pursue her university education. She obtained her B.S. degree in Biophysics from Iowa State University in 1984, an M.S. degree in Microbiology from East Tennessee State University and graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Tennessee in 1995.  Dr. Azizan maintains her citizenship as a Malaysian, while also is a US permanent resident (with a green card).

Dr. Azliyati Azizan currently holds a faculty position in the Basic Sciences Department as an Associate Professor at the Touro University Nevada (TUN) College of Osteopathic Medicine, starting from January 2021. Dr. Azizan first began her academic career as a part-time faculty member (Assistant Professor) in 2001 at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida within the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. During this period, she also worked part-time as a Molecular Virology Bioscientist at the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Bureau of laboratory (Virology branch) which is located on the USF campus in Tampa. At the FDOH laboratory, Dr. Azizan characterized real-time RT-PCR diagnostic assays to detect and identify viral pathogens from clinical samples as well as conducted research on noroviruses and dengue viruses. When the new Global Health department was formed in 2003 at the USF College of Public Health (COPH), Dr. Azizan joined as one of the founding faculty members as a full time Assistant Professor, and participated in developing the fastest growing department which recruited many masters and doctoral level students to the MPH (Masters of Public Health), MSPH (Masters of Science in Public Health) and PhD programs.  Following her time at USF, in January 2015, Dr. Azizan started a new position as an Associate Professor at Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM), which is a new university located in Nur-Sultan the capital city of Kazakhstan (in Central Asia). This is a US style medical school that maintains a partnership with the University of Pittsburg, and offers the MD, MPH and other biomedical sciences masters level programs. Dr. Azizan participated actively in the creation and implementation of many of the programs and courses at NUSOM, and was actively engaged in scholarly research activities involving many students and Colleagues.

Dr. Azizan's research areas of interest are in the fields of Medical Microbiology and Molecular Biology. She has successfully conducted research projects focused on several infectious disease topics that are of global public health importance. Her research topics as a faculty member at NUSOM were on drug discovery/antibiotic characterization, and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Some findings from these studies are summarized in several of her publications on these topics. Another research topic she was previously involved in while working at USF is dengue. Currently at TUN, Dr. Azizan is starting initiatives to begin projects related to the public health aspects of COVID-19.  Dr. Azizan currently maintains courtesy faculty positions with USF as well as NUSOM, and continues to collaborate with several faculty members at these Institutions. Dr. Azizan had previously mentored many doctoral and masters level students, and served as Academic Advisor for many MPH as well as MD students. Dr. Azizan is an active member of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS) and the American Public Health Association.

1) The University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. [08/89 – 05/95]. PhD in Biochemistry
2) East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA. [08/85 – 07/87]. MSc in Microbiology
3) Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA. [06/80- 05/84]. Bachelor of Science in Biophysics

1) Microbiologist [06/87 - 12/87] Tawakal Specialist Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2) Lecturer [01/88 - 12/88] Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3) Postdoctoral fellow [11/94 - 12/96] Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, Florida, USA

4) Postdoctoral fellow [12/96 - 01/98] Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA

5) Research Bioscientist [02/98 - 04/02] Shriners Hospital Research Department, Tampa, Florida, USA  

6) Molecular Virology Bioscientist [11/04 - 01/07] Florida Department of Health, Tampa, Florida, USA

7) Assistant Professor [08/02 – 12/2014] Department of Global Health, College of Public Health, USF, Tampa, Florida, USA

8) Associate Professor [01/2015 - 12/2020] Nazarbayev University School of Medicine, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Medical Microbiology courses and select lectures in the MHS, PA and DO programs

1) A research project Dr. Azizan has been involved in is on natural product drug discovery related to characterization of novel antibiotic as treatment options for some multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens.   The long-term goal of this project is to identify and characterize secondary metabolites produced by Kazakhstan extremophiles for their activities as antimicrobial or anticancer agents. In Dr. Azizan’s previous work on this topic, together with her collaborators from the Research and Production Center for Microbiology and Virology (RPCMV) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, they have identified many producer (extremophilic) actinomycetes strains with great potential to synthesize active compounds with antimicrobial properties. In the continuing project, they further characterized these extremophiles as potential producers of novel antibiotics and also screened extracts prepared from these producer microorganisms for antiviral and antitumor activities. They also attempted to chemically identify and characterize active molecule(s) with antibacterial activity as novel active molecules. Additionally, they used their established field sampling and laboratory protocols to isolate and identify additional extremophiles from other unexplored regions in areas close to Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. They started their study several years ago by collecting soil samples from various extreme geographical zones of Kazakhstan (solonchak, solonets, and solod soils, mineral water sources, and anthropogenic area). This work is described in many published articles including the most recent one; Antiviral activities of extremophilic actinomycetes extracts from Kazakhstan’s unique ecosystems against influenza viruses and paramyxoviruses. Virology Journal volume 16, Article number: 150 (2019). With respect to anti-bacterial activities, this work is really important in the era of fast development of resistance against established antibiotics and searching for remedies from natural products found within the extreme environment of Kazakhstan is highly important. The project proposed a nonconventional approach to screen the producer organisms using laboratory media conditions that mimic the environment these organisms originate from, which would increase the chances of discovering novel antimicrobial agent. Dr. Azizan and her team have now established several fruitful collaborations with expert groups in this field that will enable them to further pursue their ultimate goal, which is to identify and characterize novel antimicrobial agents. This study is important as this drug discovery research can lead to identification of novel bioactive compounds with antimicrobial activities whereby the discoveries made can be put into immediate use to save lives and improve morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases caused AMR (antimicrobial resistant) bacterial pathogens.

2) Another area of Dr. Azizan's research interest is the laboratory- and public health-based investigations related to the Human Papilloma virus (HPV). This work started in Kazakhstan with cervical cancer being second only to breast cancer as the most frequent cancer in women and is the fourth cause of female cancer deaths in Kazakhstan. Alarmingly, cervical cancer is the first leading cause of cancer deaths in women aged 15 to 44 years in Kazakhstan. The incidence rate of HPV in Kazakhstan is higher than other countries in Central Asia, which overall has a much higher rate than many other countries in the world. In spite of the presence of vaccination and screening programs in Kazakhstan, the rate of HPV associated cancers and death due to these cancers continue to rise. However, the actual prevalence and incidence rate, and the nature of circulating HPV strains around Kazakhstan is unknown. In collaboration with the Republican Diagnostic Hospital and the Mother and Child Hospital in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and along with several junior medical doctor faculty members as well as students of NUSOM, Dr. Azizan and her collaborators genotyped HPV strains that are associated with specific types of cancer in clinical samples of confirmed cases of associated cancer, and also in abnormal pap smear samples. Having definitive information about the types of HPV strains that are associated with specific kinds of cancer can provide guidance regarding preventative measures to further justify use of vaccination for protection against HPV, which unfortunately is still an issue of acceptance in Kazakhstan.  Dr, Azizan also has an ongoing collaboration with a Malaysian Biotech company to develop a rapid diagnostic test kit for detecting the DNA for HPV with funding from the NU (Nazarbayev University) commercialization office.  Dr. Azizan would like to have the opportunity to expand this HPV research in the US as a faculty member at Touro University Nevada while working collaboratively with the Central Asian Collaborators. This is a very important Viral Oncology topic that is understudied in the developing and underdeveloped part of the world, and also is a relevant and important research topic being investigated in the US.

Dr. Azizan looks forward to the opportunity to expand on these areas of research and other infectious diseases topics including also COVID-19 in the future, in the supportive academic and research environment of Touro University Nevada. Her hope is that research conducted will be beneficial to the Institute as well as the scientific and public community, and especially to participate in an endeavor that is impactful towards the global society as a whole.

1) Fund source: Nazarbayev University Commercialization office. USD$125,000 for two years       

Title: Development of a novel rapid point-of-care In Vitro Diagnostic Device for detection of HPV and cervical cancer prevention Role: PI. Project Period: February 1, 2018 – December 31, 2019 (to be extended to June 2020)

2) Fund source: Nazarbayev University internal funding. Funds: USD$50,000 per year for three years        

Title: A molecular epidemiological study to determine the prevalence of oncogenic HPV strains for cervical cancer prevention in Kazakhstan. Role: Co-PI Project Period: Jan, 2019 – December 31, 2021 

3) Fund source: Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (Social Policy Grant)

Title:  Assessing healthcare providers’ catheter-associated urinary tract infection prevention in selected hospitals in Kazakhstan: A Mixed Method Study Role: Collaborator Project Period: January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 

Funds: USD$10,000 per year for one year

4) Fund source: Minimally Invasive Tissue Sampling Incentive Award

Title:   Validating a Minimally Invasive Tissue Sampling Technique as a New Paradigm for obtaining Reliable Mortality Statistics for Assigning Cause of Death: Experience from Kazakhstan. Role: Co- Investigator

Project Period: January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019.

Funds: USD$50,000 per year for one year (for pilot study)

5) Fund source: Nazarbayev University internal funding.

Funds: USD$100,000 per year for three years Role: PI     

Title:  Extremophiles from unique ecosystems of Kazakhstan as potential producers of novel antimicrobial and anticancer agents Role: PI Project Period: October 1, 2016 – December 31, 2019 

6) Fund source: Nazarbayev University faculty start up grant (Social Policy grant). Role: PI

Title:  Evaluation of knowledge level and the status of HPV prevalence of relevant cancer cases in Kazakhstan. Project Period: 09/01/15 – 05/31/16 Funds: USD$10,000

7) Early Career Investigator Award (USF College of Public Health). Role: PI.                  

Title: The research of antagonism of the actinomycetes from unique ecosystems of Kazakhstan in extreme conditions Role: PI.  Project Period: 07/01/11 – 12/01/12 Funds: $15,000

8) Interdisciplinary Research Development Grant (USF College of Public Health). Role: PI.                    

Title: Integration of field epidemiology, laboratory and GIS technologies to elucidate the profile of dengue vector competency in Florida, USA. Project Period: 07/01/11 – 12/01/12 Funds: $100,000

9) University of Malaya in Malaysia; Institutional Grant. Role: co-PI

Title: Immunological profiles of disease progression to DHF/DSS

Project Period: 06/01/10 – 05/30/12 Role: co-Investigator Funds: RM$300,000 (USD$100,000)

10) Southeastern Center for Emerging and Biological Threats (SECEBT)/CDC Role: PI

Title: Development of an in-vitro model system for assessing risk of progression to severe disease among Dengue, West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis infections [ 08/1/08 - 08/31/09] Funds: $50,000 for 1 year

11) ISTC (International Scientific and Technology Center), Moscow, Russia. Role: co-PI

Title: The surveillance of new antibiotics from Kazakhstan soils actinomycetes, active against methicillin-resistant Staphylococci with multiple drug resistance.  [06/01/06 - 05/30/09] Funds: $300,000 for 3 years

Ainur Zhulamanova, Zhanat Koshenov, Saikal Shamkeeva, Zhannur Markhametova, Diyora Abdukhakimova, Lyudmila Trenozhnikova, Azliyati Azizan. Extremophilic actinomycetes isolated from soil in Kazakhstan: Classification and antimicrobial activities. Publication date 2020/3. Journal Microbiology Research. Volume 11. Issue 1. Pages 11-19. Microbiology Research 2020, 11(1), 11-19 (registering DOI)

Aimagambetova, Gulzhanat, Chan, Chee Kai, Ukybassova, Talshyn; Imankulova, Balkenzhe, Balykov, Askhat, Kongrtay, Kuralay and Azizan, Azliyati. Cervical Cancer Screening and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Journal of Medical Screening. 2020. Published online January 25, 2020.

Mukhtar Sadykov, Azizan Azliyati, Ulan Kozhamkulov, Ainur Akilzhanov, Dauren Erezhepov, Max Salfinger, and Chee Kai Chan. Association of genetic variations in the vitamin D pathway with susceptibility to TB infection in Kazakhstan. Molecular Biology Reports Published online January 13, 2020

Vladimir Berezin, Diyora Abdukhakimova, Lyudmila Trenozhnikova, Andrey Bogoyavlenskiy, Aizhan Turmagambetova, Alpamys Issanov & Azliyati Azizan. Antiviral activities of extremophilic actinomycetes extracts from Kazakhstan’s unique ecosystems against influenza viruses and paramyxoviruses. Virology Journal volume 16, Article number: 150 (2019). https://doi:10.1186/s12985-019-1254-1

Chee Kai Chan, Gulzhanat Aimagambetova, Talshyn Ukybassova, Kuralay Kongrtay, and Azliyati Azizan. Human Papillomavirus Infection and Cervical Cancer: Epidemiology, Screening, and Vaccination—Review of Current Perspectives, Journal of Oncology, vol. 2019, Article ID 3257939, 11 pages, 2019.

Lyudmila Trenozhnikova and Azliyati Azizan. Discovery of Actinomycetes from Extreme Environments with Potential to Produce Novel Antibiotics. Central Asian Journal of Global Health. (Vol 7, No 1 (2018)) of CAJGH.

Dmitriy Viderman, Yekaterina Khamzina, Zhannur Kaligozhin, Makhira Khudaibergenova, Agzam Zhumadilov, Byron Crape and Azliyati Azizan. An observational case study of hospital associated infections in a critical care unit in Astana, Kazakhstan.  Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. (2018) 7:57.

Gulzhanat Aimagambetova and Azliyati Azizan. Epidemiology of HPV Infection and HPV-Related Cancers in Kazakhstan: a Review. May 2018Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP 19(5)

Jason Ambrose, Shamala Devi Sekaran and Azliyati Azizan. Dengue Virus NS1 Protein as a Diagnostic Marker: Commercially Available ELISA and Comparison to qRT-PCR and Serological Diagnostic Assays Currently Used by the State of Florida. Journal of Tropical Medicine. Volume 2017, Article ID 807249.

DOI: 10.22034/APJCP.2018.19.5.1175

Luiza Niyazmetova, Gulzhanat Aimagambetova, Nazigul Stambekova, Zaurech Abugalieva, Korlukain Seksembayeva, Syed Ali and Azliyati Azizan. (2017). Application of molecular genotyping to determine prevalence of HPV strains in Pap smear samples of Kazakhstan women. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 54: 85–88.

Jason H. Ambrose, Lillian M. Stark, Jazmine S.Mateus, Kelly A. Fitzpatrick and Azliyati Azizan (2016) Immunological profiles of human sera as determined by microsphere immunoassay (MIA) demonstrates that IL-10, IP-10, and MCP-1 levels are elevated in acute dengue infections. Microbiology and Virology 2(13): 29-41.

Miranda D. Smith and Azliyati Azizan (2015). Current Global Status of Dengue Diagnostics. Journal of Advances in Biology & Biotechnology 2(2): 79-95, 2015; Article no.JABB.2015.011.

Oluyemisi Falope, Katheryn Hanson and Azliyati Azizan (2015). Dengue and Mosquito Control Programs: A Comparative Analysis. Journal of Applied Life Sciences International 2(1): 35-48, 2015; Article no.JALSI.2015.005

Adeline S. L. Yeo, Nur Atiqah Azhar, Wanyi Yeow, C. Conover Talbot Jr., Mohammad Asif Khan, Esaki M. Shankar, Anusyah Rathakrishnan, Azliyati Azizan, Seok Mui Wang, Siew Kim Lee, Mun Yik Fong, Rishya Manikam, and Shamala Devi Sekaran. (2014). Lack of Clinical Manifestations in Asymptomatic Dengue Infection Is Attributed to Broad Down-Regulation and Selective Up-Regulation of Host Defence Response Genes. PLOS ONE. April 2014. Volume 9, Issue 4.

Anusyah Rathakrishnan, Benjamin Klekamp, Seok Mui Wang, Thamil Vaani Komarasamy, Santha Kumari Natkunam, Jameela Sathar, Azliyati Azizan, Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano, Rishya Manikam, and Shamala Devi Sekaran (2014). Clinical and Immunological Markers of Dengue Progression in a Study Cohort from a Hyperendemic Area in Malaysia. PLOS ONE. Volume 9, Issue 4. March 2014, Volume 9, Issue 3.

A clinical, epidemiological and immunological characterization of a dengue cohort in a metropolitan city in Malaysia (P3027). Shamala Devi Sekaran, Anusyah Rathakrishnan, Azizan Azliyati, Jameela Sathar, Aurora Sanchez-Anguiano and Santha Kumari. A clinical, epidemiological and immunological characterization of a dengue cohort in a metropolitan city in Malaysia (P3027). J Immunol May 1, 2013, 190 (1 Supplement) 55.14.

Rahul Mhaskar, Ricardo Izurieta,  Azliyati Azizan, Laxminarayan Rajaram, Amol Bapaye, Santosh Walujkar, and Boo Kwa (2013). Assessment of risk factors of Helicobacter pylori infection and peptic ulcer disease. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases. Vol. 5 Issue 2. pp: 60-67.

Jill Roberts, Lyudmila Trenozhnikova, Lylah Seaton, Ami Patel, Colton Faza, Jacqueline Whitaker, Christen Mayer and Azliyati Azizan (2013) Bacterial Growth in Media Mimicking the High Salt and Alkalinity of Extreme Kazakhstan Environments Results in Production of Antimicrobial Compounds in Soil Actinomycetes Isolated from these Extremophile Locations. Journal of Pharmaceutical Technology & Drug Research

Kurt Kesteloot, Azliyati Azizan, Richard Whitman, and Meredith Nevers (2013) Ever Changing Recreational Water Testing Alternatives. Park Science.  Volume 29, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2012-2013.

ISSN: 2050-120X. Volume: 2. Issue: 1.

Srivastava A, Sweat JM, Azizan A, Vesely B, Kyle DE. (2013) Real-Time PCR to Quantitate Leishmania donovani in Hamsters. Journal of Parasitology. 2013. Vol. 99 No. 1, pp. 145-150.

Lyudmila P. Trenozhnikova,1 Almagul K. Khasenova, Assya S. Balgimbaeva, Galina B. Fedorova, Genrikh S. Katrukha, Nina L. Tokareva, Boo H. Kwa, and Azliyati Azizan. (2012) Characterization of the Antibiotic Compound No. 70 Produced by Streptomyces sp. IMV-70. The Scientific World Journal: Volume 2012, Article ID 594231. Published online 2012 March 12. doi:  10.1100/2012/594231.

Ligia M. Cruz, Michael Allanson, Boo Kwa, Azliyati Azizan, and Ricardo Izurieta (2012) Morphological Changes of Ascaris spp. Eggs During Their Development Outside the Host. Journal of Parasitology: Feb 2012, Vol. 98, No. 1, pp. 63-68.

Azizan, A., Fitzpatrick, K., Signarovitz, A., Tanner, R., Hernandez, H., Stark, L., and Sweat, M. (2009). Profile of time-dependent VEGF upregulation in Human Pulmonary Endothelial Cells, HPMEC-ST1.6R infected with DENV-1, -2, -3, and -4 viruses. Virology Journal 6:49.

Azliyati Azizan, Mark Sweat, Carlos Espino, Jennifer Gemmer, Lillian Stark, and Deno Kazanis. Differential Proinflammatory and Angiogenesis-specific Cytokine Production in Human Pulmonary Endothelial Cells, HPMEC-ST1.6R Infected with Dengue-2 and Dengue-3 Virus. Journal of Virological Methods 138 (2006) 211-217.

Azliyati Azizan, Nicole Holaday and Peter Neame (2001) Post-translational processing of bovine chondromodulin-I. J Biol. Chem. 276 (26): 23632-23638.

Azliyati Azizan, Joanne U. Gaw, Prasanthi Govindraj, Hazel Tapp and Peter J. Neame (2000). Chondromodulin-I and pleiotrophin gene expression in bovine cartilage and epiphysis. Matrix Biology. 19(6): 521-531.

Peter J. Neame, Hazel Tapp, and Azliyati Azizan (1999) Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences, Review Article. Non-collagenous, non-proteoglycan macromolecules of cartilage. 55: 1327-1340.

Azliyati Azizan, David Sherin, Concetta DiRusso and Paul N. Black (1999) Energetics underlying the process of long-chain fatty acid transport. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 365(2): 299-306.

Azliyati Azizan, Yu-Sheng Cong, Ken Shain, Shih-Chang Tsai, Ya-Li Yao, Nancy Olashaw & Edward Seto (1998) Transactivation by expression of the hepatitis B Virus X protein with an inducible system. Molecular Biology Reports. 25: 231-236.

Azliyati Azizan and R.D. Blevins (1995) Mutagenicity and antimutagenecity testing of six chemicals associated with specific spices as revealed by the Ames Salmonella mutagenicity assay. Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 28(2): 248-258.

Azliyati Azizan and Paul N. Black (1994). The use of TnphoA to identify genes for cell envelope proteins of Escherichia coli required for long-chain fatty acid transport. J. Bacteriology. 176(21): 6653-6662.

Social Problem-Solving Project (HPV) from NURIS Commercialization of Nazarbayev University, Oct 2019

Teaching Award in the category of Internationalization from Nazarbayev University, November 2020

American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
International Papillomavirus Society (IPVS)
American Public Health Association (APHA)

1) Associate Professor [01/2021 - present] Department of Basic Sciences, Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine, Henderson, Nevada, USA
2) Associate Professor. [01/2015 - 12/2020] Department of Biomedical Sciences, Nazarbayev University School of Medicine, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan
3) Assistant Professor. [08/02 – 12/2014] Department of Global Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA
4) Molecular Virology Bioscientist [11/04 - 01/07] Florida Department of Health, Tampa, Florida, USA