Mulubirhan Assefa Alemayohu

Alemayohu Mulubirhan Assefa
Alemayohu Mulubirhan Assefa


Mulubirhan Assefa Alemayohu, is a PhD candidate at University of Verona, Department of Diagnostic and Public Health, under the framework of INVITE programme. I am studying PhD in Applied Life and Health Sciences-Epidemiology and Biostatistics Curricula with a goal   to develop skills on epidemiology, biostatistics, population-based studies, and public health nutrition.

Before starting my PhD, I have worked as a public health specialist (educator, and young researcher) with an experience (academic rank from Graduate Assistant to Assistant Professor) in teaching and training of Epidemiology at Public universities in Ethiopia, namely Mekelle and Jigjiga University. I have also a broad assortment of experience in the arena of research and publication; training on research methods, conducting research, coaching and supervising Bachelor and Master students, research article reviewer on reputable journals. This resulted in a authorship and co-authorship publication, as well as an invitation to present a my research outputs at national and international annual conferences. As an aspiring researcher, my desire is to apply knowledge of epidemiology to understand the role of diet and environmental factors in the development of respiratory diseases. I am on the way to pursue a Ph.D. study that will worth groundwork for my future career; and will take me a step ahead in achieving my research goals.


PhD candidate: Mulubirhan Assefa Alemayohu
Supervisors: Maria Elisabetta Zanolin and Vanessa Garcia-Larsen
Title: Flavonoid and Poor Lung Function study in Low-middle income countries (F-PLUS)
PhD Programme: Applied Sciences of Life and Health: Epidemiology – Biostatistics

According to WHO estimates, 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). WHO predicted that COPD will be the third leading cause of death and the fifth leading cause of disability by 2030 worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where almost 90% of deaths occur. Inopportunely, accurate epidemiologic data on COPD are difficult and expensive to collect. In response to this, The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) was designed. During the doctoral research, I will work within the Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) study.

The study is a multi-national survey aimed at describing the distribution of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in low and middle income countries. This area is becoming increasingly relevant, because it might enable to understand the main causes of this disease in the different regions of the world and could spread a major light on its aetiology. The importance of diet in the development of respiratory diseases is a new promising object of the study. The data on different dietary styles of the participating countries might help to clarify the role of diet in COPD. The broad aims of the research include, but are not limited to:

  • Compare the existed food composition tables/databases in estimating dietary flavonoid intake values in low- and middle- income countries;
  • Identifying dietary determinants of poor lung function and COPD in low- and middle- income countries;
  • Investigating the association of dietary flavonoids with lung disease in the context of other environmental factors (e.g. poverty, indoor pollution, sanitation) in low- and middle- income countries

My doctoral research project aimed at strengthening and promoting international academic and research collaborations. It will be jointly supervised by academics at the University of Verona (Italy) and at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (USA) including as Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins and at Imperial College London (UK).