Malin Mattson, a doctoral student in physical therapy at Luleå University. Photo: Erica Long

International collaboration on rheumatic diseases

Published: 24 September 2014

Facilitators from different institutions allowed Malin Mattson's research to reach beyond the counrtys borders. Two international studeies was conducted in conjunction with research centers in Romania, Switzerland and Austria

On September 26, will Malin Mattsson defend her dissertation in physiotherapy at Luleå University. She has studied the experiences of two rheumatic diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and systemic sclerosis.
What makes Malins research special is that she has had two supervisors from different universities, and has collaborated with researchers from several countries. She is also an external PhD student in physical therapy, has her employment at the Norrbotten County Council and conducts her research studies at Luleå University of Technology.

Research network

Her primary supervisor Gunvor Gard, Professor at the Department of Health Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, and assistant supervisor Carina Boström, senior lecturer at the Karolinska Institute and researchers in rheumatology, has worked closely with Malin in her research.
– The collaboration has been excellent and it has been a great advantage to have supervisors from different universities. They complement each other with different skills and experiences. In addition, I can take part of take their research network, says Malin Mattson.

Various professions broadens research

Malin's research consists of four papers which have focused on the experiences of the diseases SLE and systemic sclerosis. One of the papers is an international questionnaire on fatigue in SLE has been translated into Swedish and tested for reliability. Malin has been in contact with the deputy supervisor's research network,  from several countries. Two of her papers have been made in a multicenter study, in which several European research centers worked together. Researchers with different professions such as occupational therapists, physicians, psychologists, physical therapists and sociologists have participated in the studies.
- It's very rewarding to see things from different directions, giving a width to the analysis and research. I have also learned various research methods.

Customize treatment

Malin says that when several research center help each other out knowledge pushed forward with united forces, particularly important in systemic sclerosis which is a rare disease. The results of this study may be helpful for health care professionals to tailor medical care and rehabilitation to people with more unusual rheumatic diseases. In addition, the thesis can contribute to the development of measurement instruments in SLE and systemic sclerosis.
- To conduct research studies internationally is incredibly inspiring and instructive. It's been especially fun to try during doctoral studies, then I had my supervisors who supported me. The hope is to continue with research kombinerarat with clinical work, continuing Malin Mattson.