Alberto Garcia-Basteiro successfully defends tuberculosis thesis

Four years of intense work, research and analysis have paid off for Alberto Garcia-Basteiro: he successfully defended his thesis yesterday.

Alberto first joined AIGHD in 2015 as a PhD candidate under the supervision of Executive Board Chair prof. Frank Cobelens and Dr. Sabine Hermans as co-promoter. The defense took place at the University of Amsterdam’s Agnietenkapel.

As a student through Erasmus University’s TransGlobal Health Program, Alberto was able to obtain a joint degree from two different partner institutes in two different European countries. He received his PhD through the University of Amsterdam and University of Barcelona.

Alberto’s thesis, Improving Tuberculosis Mortality Estimates: An Evaluation of Data Sources, Strategies and New Diagnostics in a High Tuberculosis and HIV Burden Setting sought to better understand what the magnitude of mortality attributable to tuberculosis (TB) in and evaluated new diagnostics and strategies that could be used to improve mortality estimates. There’s still a high degree of uncertainty about the global impact of TB, including how many people have the disease and how many deaths it causes that go undiagnosed.

Each year, more people are killed by TB than any other infectious disease. Nearly 4,500 people lose their lives to TB every day and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.

“An accurate estimation of the impact of TB is critical because it helps countries to understand the magnitude of their TB epidemic and thus, allocate resources appropriately so they can better implement control measures,” he said.

“By better measuring the burden of disease, we can see how we’re progressing towards global TB targets and the targets outlined in the UN sustainable development goals and WHO’s END TB strategy. If we don’t know where we’re starting from, it’s impossible to know if our efforts are actually having an impact on this disease.”

For Alberto, who’s currently working at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal, as the TB group leader, his time at AIGHD and under the supervision of prof. Cobelens had many benefits.

“Through the mentorship provided by Frank Cobelens, I was able to grow as a researcher and think more critically about my work,” he added. “The team at AIGHD also gives you the opportunity to learn beyond your specific topic and attend relevant scientific events, like research meetings and symposiums on other areas which I think play an important contribution to the training of a PhD student. It’s helped widen my perspective about global health and the need to continue to undertake work in this field.”

Please join us in congratulating Alberto for this significant accomplishment!