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Award for best dissertation in Swedish gastroenterology

Juan Vaz har mörkt hår och glasögon.
Juan Vaz received his doctorate in 2023 and is now a postdoc at Karolinska Institutet, and still connected to Lund University. Photo: Halland Hospital in Halmstad

Juan Vaz completed his dissertation at Lund University 2023. Now he is being praised for his thesis work by the Swedish Gastroenterological Association (SGF). This year is the first time the association has awarded the award.

Hello there Juan, what distinguishes the research in your thesis?

"The thesis analyzes how socio-economic factors affect the outcome of cirrhosis and liver cancer in Sweden, which may be important for improving care for patients who are affected. By highlighting the role of previously unidentified liver cirrhosis and metabolic diseases, important guidance is provided for how we can optimize care in Sweden for the population at high risk of developing liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. And overall, the results are an important step towards more equitable and efficient care."

How did you get your eyes open for research?

"Ever since my time as a medical candidate, I have been very interested in research. It was only at the beginning of my specialization in internal medicine in Halmstad that I met committed supervisors who believed in my ideas and motivated me to stick with postgraduate education."

What was the best part of being a PhD student?

"The best thing is that you get the chance to immerse yourself in something you are really passionate about. To see how ideas become hypotheses, and how hypotheses can then become useful conclusions and facts. The funnest is, of course, when your first script is accepted, although there is probably nothing that surpasses the feeling at the defense, or for that matter the shivers you get when you finally step into Lund's cathedral at the ceremonial doctoral promotion."

Do you have any tips on how you, as a doctoral student, work with your thesis?

"Document your steps in the work and be careful with your portfolio. Don't be afraid to ask for help and network with others. Take every opportunity you can to get out and talk about your research to different target groups in society. Approach, or email, people you have as research role models, let them know you exist."

What are you doing today?

"Today I am a postdoc with Professor Hannes Hagström at the Karolinska Institutet, and I am also completing my subspecialization in medical gastroenterology and hepatology at Halland Hospital in Halmstad."


The award ceremony took place on May 16 at Gastrodagarna in Linköping. 

Find out more about the Swedish Gastro days 15–17 May 2024 on the Gastro days´ website.