Several India related PhD theses from Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet (KI) has been involved in a lare number of Indo-Swedish collaborative research projects, not the least through its Department of Public Health Sciences that includes the multidisciplinary Division of International Health, previously known under its earlier acronym, IHCAR. Since the start in 1984, IHCAR has developed extensive research in several fields within international health, pursuing research and education in collaboration with researchers in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa.

Through the experience of collaboration with global partners and stakeholders, the division aims at being a resource centre at the Karolinska Institutet, recognized for its comprehension of global health issues. Extensive collaboration exists within Karolinska Institutet and the division has been an active stakeholder in the Karolinska International Research and Training (KIRT) Program and the Centre for Global Health (KICGH). Besides, IHCAR has practiced the successful sandwich PhD system for many years, that has resulted in a large number of theses by PhD candidates from among other third world countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
It should be mentioned that r​oughly half of Karolinska Institutet’s departments have projects with over 100 different academies and research institutes in India. KI has also a long tradition of research collaboration with Pakistan. Read a report on KI’s involvement with India and Pakistan.
In recent years, several South Asian PhD candidates have defended their doctortal dissertations at KI, some of which are presented here:

- On 11 June 2013, Ujjwal Neogi defended his thesis entitled ”Translational Genomics of HIV-1 Subtype C in India: Molecular Phylogeny and Drug Resistance” from the Department of Medicine Huddinge. The faculty opponent was Dr. Hervy Fleury, Laboratoire de Virologie, Université de Bordeaux, France. He then joined a post-doc position at St. John's Research Institute in Bangalore, India, but from 2015 he is back at KI, working as Assistant professor at the Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine (LABMED) at Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset, Huddinge, his research focusing on drug resistance, molecular adaptation, pathogenic fitness, HIV-1 latency and latency reversal. The key aspect of his research is to understand the virus adaptation in the environment of host and antiretroviral those together influence the viral transmission, pathogenesis, disease progression, therapeutic response and cure. More information.

- On 14 October 2014, Assistant Professor Rashmi Josephine Rodrigues from the St Johns Academy Of Medical Science in Bangalore, India, defended her thesis entitled  "m-Health for antiretroviral treatment support: Evidence from India" from the Department of Public Health Sciences. The faculty opponent was Professor Max Petzold, Centre for Applied Biostatistics within the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. The aim behind the project was to test an mHealth intervention to improve adherence to antiretroviral therapy in HIV patients in South India. Perceptions regarding the intervention and costs of the intervention from the perspective of the national program were studied.  Despite the positive effect of the intervention on adherence in the cohort, Rodrigues and the research group to which he belonged was unable to detect an effect on time to viral failure and adherence to treatment in the trial. Yet, some participants considered the intervention helpful. The costs of such interventions to national programmes are low. It may be advisable to target specific groups of patients such as those with poor adherence rather than all patients and experiment with different designs of the mHealth intervention. Full information.

- On 27 November 2015, Martin Gerdin defended his thesis entitled ”The Risk of Dying. Predicting Trauma Mortality in Urban Indian Hospitals”, from the Department of Public Health Sciences. The faculty opponent was Dr Timothy Craig Hardcastle from the Department of Surgery at University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The principal supervisor was Associate Professor Johan von Schreeb at the Department of Public Health Science, but Gerdin was also supervised by Professor Li Felländer-Tsai at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology Division of Orthopaedics and Biotechnology, KI; Professor Max Petzold, University of Gothenburg; and Professor Göran Tomson, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics at KI. More information.
In 2015, Martin Gerdin also received a scholarship from Svensk Katastrofmedicinsk Förening, with the following motivation:
”Martin's research is of international character and progress at five major trauma center in India. The aim of the thesis is to identify important factors that could predict early death in trauma patients. That in these resource-poor environments to identify and predict the possible risk of dying and thus better resource optimize care is the big challenge. By Martins research so the result may support the medical staff who face the most difficult of decisions and thus be able to save as many trauma patients as possible. The basis of an enhanced evidence-based knowledge to prioritize the right patient at the right action and treatment at the right time is what the disaster medicine is all about. Martin is one of the next generation of Swedish disaster medicine which we in the Swedish Disaster Medical Association wants to be with and encourage”.

- On 3 December 2015, Kristi Sidney Annerstedt defended her thesis entitled "Nobody Delivers at Home Now" from the Dept of Public Health Sciences. The faculty opponent was Dr. Matthews Mathai, Coordinator - Epidemiology, Monitoring & Evaluation, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health, World Health Organization (WHO). The thesis deals with who and why women participate in a conditional cash transfer program to promote institutional delivery in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. One-fifth of global maternal deaths occur in India making this a serious public health challenge. It is well known that skilled birth attendance and access to quality emergency obstetric care reduces maternal mortality. However, up until 2005, efforts by the government at providing access to emergency obstetric care were thwarted by low uptake of facility-based delivery (39% in the same year). A cash incentive program, Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) was implemented in 2005 by the central government to increase facility-based births and reduce maternal mortality. It gave money directly to the women upon discharge from a public health facility after childbirth. Subsequently in 2009 an emergency transport model (Janani Express Yojana, JEY) was implemented to support the JSY program and eliminate physical access barriers to giving birth in a facility.
Her principal supervisor was Associate Professor Ayesha De Costa, and co-supervisors were Associate Professor Vishal Diwan, Department of Public Health and Environment, R.D. Gardi Medical College, India; Associate Professor Kranti Vora, Department of Maternal Child Health, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar University, India; and Prof. Lars Lindholm, Division of Epidemiology and Global Health, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University. The Examination Board included renowned scientists such as Dr. Jahangir A. M. Khan, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK; and Associate Professor James P Grant from the School of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka. More information.

- On 20 May 2016, Kirti Iyengar defended her thesis entitled ”Simplifying Medical Abortion Services in Primary Care Settings in India” from the Department of Women's and Children's Health. Faculty opponent was Professor Viveca Odlind af Klercker, Uppsala University. Dr. Iyengar is now working as Adjunct Professor at Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, USA. There she is teaching undergraduate students from Duke University participating in the Duke Semester in India program (earlier Global Semester Abroad). Her principal supervisor at KI was Professor Marie Klingberg-Allvin. The aims of the doctoral research project were: (a) to assess the efficacy, feasibility, safety and acceptability of self assessment as compared to the routine clinic follow-up after early medical abortion, (b) to assess efficacy, safety and acceptability of home administration of misoprostol as compared to clinic use of misoprostol, and (c) to explore women’s experiences and perceptions of home use of misoprostol and of self-assessment of outcome of early medical abortion. Full information.