NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

Recent viva successes from RESPIRE PhD students

Congratulations to Dr GM Monsur Habib and Dr Rutuja Patil!

Congratulations go to our most recent PhD students on successful completion of their vivas!

GM Monsur Habib

Dr GM Monsur Habib

Monsur has over 30 years’ experience in primary health care, with a particular interest in Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRDs). He is the President of the Bangladesh Primary Care Respiratory Society as well as a founding member of the International Primary Care Respiratory Society and Bangladesh Lung Foundation.

A PhD with RESPIRE was the next step for Monsur. His project was developing and piloting a Pulmonary Rehabilitation programme that could be scaled up in Bangladesh. Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) is proven to be the most effective strategy to improve shortness of breath, health status and exercise tolerance for people with chronic respiratory diseases like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It can also reduce admissions to hospital and deaths in patients with recent exacerbations.

Monsur successfully defended his thesis in May 2022, but the impact of his project has been felt widely across Bangladesh. Monsur has led on many public and health system engagement events where he has raised the awareness of PR. This includes meetings with policy makers, public and private health professionals, and many appearances on television talking about PR. Monsur has also provided training for clinicians and healthcare workers from across Bangladesh, and Malaysia and India in managing chronic respiratory diseases.

This PhD journey was really a challenge for me at this mature age, however, I enjoyed it due to the extraordinary encouragement of my supervisors Professor Hilary Pinnock and Dr Roberto Rabinovich. I am grateful to RESPIRE team for this success.

Dr GM Monsur Habib
Rutuja Patil

Dr Rutuja Patil

Before her PhD studies, Rutuja worked as a biotechnologist. She then became interested in public health, and particularly in research being able to influence policy, both nationally in her home country of India and globally.

Based at the Vadu Rural Health Program at the King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre, Pune, Rutuja’s PhD focussed on the use of telehealthcare for the management of chronic respiratory diseases in remote, rural areas of India. There was no published evidence whether teleconsultations for the support of rural workforces were feasible for use in India before Rutuja’s study.

Rutuja’s study has an impact on the clinicians in rural areas of India and in turn the local populations. As well as listening to the needs of primary care clinicians about their training and needs of the telehealthcare system, Rutuja identified a startup opportunity which provides solutions for telehealthcare improvements. Given the increase in infrastructure for digital health and the availability of updated technology, telehealthcare will now be widely implemented in low-resource settings, like the rural areas around Pune, India.

This journey has been an enriching experience and having wonderful and knowledgeable supervisors like Professor Brian McKinstry and Dr Karen Fairhurst brought out the best in me. Getting a PhD under the RESPIRE banner gave me a sense of belonging to a like-minded community.

Dr Rutuja Patil


A huge well done to Monsur and Rutuja on their hard work! We look forward to celebrating with them when they can attend their graduation ceremonies!