Dóra Sallay received her Ph.D. degree at CEU in 2008. At that time she was the curator of Italian paintings at the Christian Museum (Keresztény Múzeum) in Esztergom (1998–2008). Her special field of study is early Italian, especially Sienese painting, and she has written various articles and other contributions on this subject, including her dissertation entitled "Early Sienese Paintings in Hungarian Collections, 1420–1520." Among her current projects is a three-volume publication partly based on this dissertation, which aims to discuss the Sienese paintings in Hungarian public and private collections in their entirety (Corpus of Sienese Paintings in Hungary).
Her research interests also include the reception and collection history of early Italian paintings. In the latter field she has published a book on the Renaissance painting collection of the private Roman collector Canon Raffaele Bertinelli (1802–1878), which now forms part of the Keresztény Múzeum (Raffaele Bertinelli és reneszánsz képtára. Egy műgyűjtemény útja Rómától Esztergomig [Raffaele Bertinelli and his Renaissance picture gallery: The journey of an art collection from Rome to Esztergom]. Esztergom, 2009, in Hungarian, with English summary).
Since 2008 Dóra Sallay works at the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) in Budapest, where, among other projects, she has participated in the exhibition Botticelli to Titian: Two Centuries of Italian Masterpieces (2009), and co-edited its catalogue. Since December 2012 she is the head of the Department of Old Master Paintings at the museum.
Besides the Corpus of Sienese Paintings, her current projects include the writing of short monographs on the fifteenth-century Sienese painters Giovanni di Paolo and Pellegrino di Mariano.