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Dr Komal Bhatia
Institute for Global Health
3rd Floor, 30 Guilford Street
Dr Komal Bhatia profile picture
  • Research Fellow in Adolescent Health
  • Institute for Global Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

I completed a PhD in Nutritional Epidemiology from University College London in 2019, supervised by Profs David Osrin, Jonathan Wells and Bianca De Stavola. My thesis, entitled Infant and young child growth and nutrition in urban informal settlements in Mumbai, India, was examined by Prof Paula Griffiths from Loughborough University and Dr Clare Llewellyn from University College London, and I passed with minor corrections.

I studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2012-13) and was awarded the John Rivers Prize for outstanding progress on the MSc Nutrition for Global Health, after which I completed a second MSc in Global Public Health and Policy from Queen Mary, University of London (2013-14). I have a BSc in Home Science (Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics) from the University of Mumbai.  

Between 2014 and 2017 I was part of the Global Nutrition Report's International Secretariat, and contributed to the first four annual reports as data analyst - based at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton (2014-16) and the UCL Institute for Global Health (2016-17). The Global Nutrition Report series has been critical in making evidence-based arguments for improving population nutrition and promoting accountability to meet global targets. I also advised the UN Scaling Up Nutrition Secretariat on their Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework in 2017.

At an institutional level, I am particularly interested in improving research culture and gender equality for early career researchers, and aim to integrate principles of open science and transparency in my career and research practice. 

I am a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr). 

Research Themes
Research Summary

My research focuses on nutrition and global health, with methods ranging from causal inference in epidemiology to qualitative research on food and diets in urban informal settlements. I apply interdisciplinary approaches to public health nutrition, and almost always work in multidisciplinary collaborations. 

For my doctoral research (2015-2019) I examined infant and young child growth and nutrition in urban informal settlements (slums) in Mumbai, India, collaborating with the local NGO SNEHA (www.snehamumbai.org). 

Since 2019, I have been part of a research collaboration with Ekjut (www.ekjutindia.org), an NGO based in eastern India (Jharkhand and Odisha), to test participatory learning and action groups to improve mental health, dietary diversity and school attendance among adolescents in rural Jharkhand (JIAH trial: www.ucl.ac.uk/global-health/research/z-research/jiah-jharkhand-initiative-adolescent-health).

Topics that I have an active research interest in:
- Infant and young child feeding 
- Child growth and anthropometry
- Health and nutrition in urban informal settlements (slums)
- Adolescent health and nutrition
- Theory and methods in nutritional epidemiology

Study designs, methods and research techniques that I have experience in:
- Cohort studies and statistical analysis of longitudinal data
- Causal mediation analysis of time-varying data
- Growth modelling of longitudinal anthropometric data
- Cluster RCTs of complex interventions (impact and process evaluation)
- Qualitative approaches to studying food and nutrition

In 2019 I set up the IGH Causal Inference Reading Group, which meets twice a month to discuss concepts, methods and issues in causal inference in epidemiology, statistics and global health. Our reading group brings together researchers from across UCL and is supported by a Researcher-Led Initiative award from UCL Organisational Development until June 2021.

Teaching Summary

I teach regularly on the MSc Global Health and Development and iBSc Global Health programmes at the Institute for Global Health.
Lecture topics: food and urban health, infant and young child nutrition, maternal and child nutrition in global health, policy measures to support breastfeeding and healthy diets, introduction to global nutrition.
Tutorials and seminars: research methods and study design in global health, using Stata to analyse quantitative survey data, and global health policy.

Student supervision: I supervise iBSc and MSc dissertations and welcome enquiries from students interested in projects on global nutrition, obesity, food security, breastfeeding and complementary feeding, urban health and community-based approaches to improve health. 

SEP-2019 Research Fellow in Adolescent Health Institute for Global Health UCL, United Kingdom
APR-2016 – SEP-2018 Research Assistant Institute for Global Health UCL, United Kingdom
MAY-2014 – MAR-2016 Research Officer Health and Nutrition Cluster Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2019   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2014   Master of Science Queen Mary College, University of London
2013   Master of Science London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
2010   Bachelor of Science University of Mumbai
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