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Doctoral defense "Corona Style"

The outbreak of covid19 has made us go more virtual than ever. During Oktawia Nilssons doctoral defense her opponent was connected by Zoom, and so was her relatives who could follow the webinar from Poland. The only thing that has been postponed is the celebration…

Oktawias opponent and her relatives joined the defense via Zoom.
Oktawias opponent and her relatives joined the defense via Zoom.
Oktawias opponent and her relatives joined the defense via Zoom. Photo: Jens Lagerstedt

Did you ever fear the dissertation should be cancelled or postponed?

-    Yes, I was very worried. I felt ready to defend my PhD and didn’t want to postpone. I was very fortunate to have everyone onboard and to be allowed to defend under these circumstances. 

How did it go?

-    It went very well. My opponent gave a presentation which was followed by everyone in the room. Next, we engaged in the conversation as in in the “usual” defence. Naturally, it felt different to talk to my opponent via zoom, however, we managed to have a great discussion! 

Was everything (technically) going the way it should?

-    The technology was on our side. We got technical support to set up everything before the dissertation, which was very appreciated. We even set up an additional zoom for those who were unable to come. This way all my family (including my 87-year-old aunt) and friends could see me defending my PhD. After initial few minutes of “can you hear me well?” everything was working smoothly. I think that having Zoom available for those who cannot attend is a great solution regardless of the virus-pandemics. 

How do you experience the Corona situation, has it affected you in any other way?

-    The Corona situation has definitely created an additional stress. I was anxiously following the recommendations provided by the authorities, hoping that I will not be asked to postpone my dissertation. The days before my defence I did not leave my home to make sure that I will be healthy on the day. I am very lucky to have my husband who was happy to run errands for me. Having everyones health in consideration, I postponed my doctoral celebrations and asked my family to stay at home, who instead followed everything on Zoom. 

Social distancing, the audience spread out in the room
Social distancing during the defense.
Social distancing during the defense.

The opponent, Susanna Hofmann participated via Zoom.
The opponent, Susanna Hofmann participated via Zoom. Photo: Jens Lagerstedt
The opponent, Susanna Hofmann participated via Zoom. Photo: Jens Lagerstedt

 

Oktawia Nilsson and har supervisor Jens Lagerstedt "Corona hugging"with their feet after the defense.
Oktawia Nilsson and har supervisor Jens Lagerstedt "Corona hugging" after the defense. Photo: Gustav Nilsson
Oktawia Nilsson and har supervisor Jens Lagerstedt

Apolipoprotein A-I – a good player with a dark side

Oktawia Nilsson's doctoral thesis describes Apolipoprotein A-I (shortly named ApoA-I), the main protein of HDL also known as “the good” cholesterol. Based on the experiments performed in the scientific papers included in this thesis, we propose that ApoA-I can be used as a promising treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, some people with genetic predispositions are born with mutated ApoA-I. This not properly functioning ApoA-I, accumulates in the vital organs leading to their failure. Both aspects are in the focus of this thesis and are explained below.

Read the summary of the doctoral thesis

Link to the thesis in Lund University Research Database: Apolipoprotein A-I in glucose metabolism and amyloidosis