The ethnic diversity officer with a passion for studying how to predict the risk of diabetes and heart diseases
Anwesha Lahiri is a postgraduate student at Trinity Hall and is the ethnic diversity officer for the postgraduate student representative body, the MCR (Middle Common Room).
Here she tells us about herself and what motivated her to study disease distribution and treatment, particularly in relation to diabetes and heart disease in countries where populations are experiencing rapid changes in diet.
Hello, I am Anwesha Lahiri from India, currently pursuing postgraduate studies in Epidemiology at Trinity Hall. My desire to study epidemiology was no accident.
I have been witness to India’s public health challenges from the ground up – during visits to understaffed and overcrowded wards of public hospitals in Bengal, while volunteering in conflict-ridden tribal belts of east India, or pursuing graduate research on risk factors of anaemia in rural Maharashtra.
India is currently undergoing a major epidemiological transition- while the country still struggles with the perils of malnutrition and infectious diseases, she is also home to the highest number of diabetics in the world.
My experiences have made me understand how, given the inadequacies in health infrastructure, differential access to healthcare, countries like India are not prepared for this emerging epidemic of chronic diseases.
Through my postgraduate studies, I aim to learn how to predict the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, years in advance.
Photo: Sir Cam
My research will focus on investigating pathways of disease progression in case of populations from different ethnicities and inform strategies for disease prevention through behavioural, dietary and lifestyle changes.
At Cambridge, I have worked with the Nutritional Epidemiology group at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, examining the association between diet quality, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Most recently, I have systematically reviewed the prevalence of ischemic heart diseases in low- and middle-income countries undergoing nutrition transition.