PhD in Environmental Science and Sustainable Development
Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher (Environmental Epidemiologist) at Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF), Germany
In her post-doc research, Nidhi is working on the environmental epidemiology of skin aging that focuses on epidemiological aspects of air pollution and climate-induced aging and chronic diseases of the skin. The study will include extensive individual-specific characteristics and their socio-economic and demographic characteristics. Her work is directly related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) dealing – among other topics – with air pollution and extreme heat.
The aim of the second project is the investigation on the IUF genuine SALIA-Study (Study on the influence of air pollution on lung function, inflammation and aging) in collaboration with IIT Mumbai, where Nidhi is working on how short-term climate effect is associated with eczema prevalence (skin disease) in elderly women.
As such studies are at an initial stage in developing nations such as India, the findings from these studies would really help to create new evidence on how environment-related factors influence human health and how detrimental the impact could be if no robust strategies are implemented.
CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2020):
Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, India
Research focus: climate variability, human health, extreme temperature, air pollution
In her PhD research, Nidhi is examining how air pollution and extreme temperatures affect human health. She is currently studying climate-related child morbidity and has also worked on the effect of multiple air pollutants on all-cause mortality. Her work is directly related to three UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and 13 (Climate Action), all dealing – among other topics – with air pollution and extreme heat.
In her PhD research, Nidhi has focused on morbidity among children. The study is being undertaken in Varanasi city, one of the various towns in India with more than one million inhabitants. The prospective community-based survey covers the period from 2017 to 2020. Overall, 500 children were selected across different households based on simple random sampling and are followed up every 4 months.
The generalised additive modelling technique will be used to establish the association between weather variables and child morbidity as attributable risk fractions, taking into account intensive demographic, socio-economic, and child anthropometric data. Nidhi aims to use the complete data set to be able to tell something about the increased risk of morbidity among children for the next decades.
Nidhi also has worked on the effects of extreme temperature and air pollution in general. She has explored the impact of extreme heat and cold days and the effect of multiple air pollutants, e.g., aerosols (black carbon) and trace gases, on all-cause mortality in a typical urban pollution hotspot. The results showed an increased risk due to heatwaves and air pollution, particularly in children and elderly people.
Nidhi advocates the inclusion of black carbon as a potential health indicator for epidemiological studies due to its strong association with mortality. Her research helps to develop policy recommendations, adaptations, and mitigation strategies. A multi-city approach will provide new insights to the present knowledge and will help in framing a robust policy and early warning system.
The jury was convinced by Nidhi’s empirical approach that links the aspects of air pollution and health, which, taken together in this way, have not been adequately researched yet.
Take a look at this video that briefly introduces Nidhi and her research: