Digital Public Defence: Rua Nader Al-Modawi

Msc Rua Nader Al-Modawi at Institute of Basic Medical Sciences will be defending the thesis The Role of MicroRNA-140 and its IsomiRs in an In Vitro model of Osteoarthritis for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Amalie Huth Hovland, UiO. 

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here

Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Order a digital copy of the thesis here

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Ian Clark, University of East Anglia
  • Second opponent: Professor Inigo Zubiavrre Martinez, UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Marit Inngjerdingen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor emeritus Frode Vartdal, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Researcher Jan E. Brinchmann, University of Oslo


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease leading to pain, physical incapacities, reduced quality of life for hundred millions of people worldwide and tremendous economical burden for the society as a whole. The prevalence of OA is on the rise and there is no disease modifying treatment. The only treatments today are pain relieving options like painkillers and physiotherapy. The final outcome is often total joint replacement.                                                                                                                             
OA is a complex multietiological disease where several factors and drivers are involved. In her doctoral research, Rua Nader Al-Modawi investigated inflammation as one of the drivers behind OA together with selected microRNAs as potential therapeutical agents for the prevention and/or treatment of OA.

In her first paper, through proteomics analysis, Al-Modawi found that miR-146a, miR-140-5p and miR-140-3p all exhibited protective anti-inflammatory effects. In addition they impacted on other important biological processes  known to be altered in OA, giving overall beneficial effects potentially leading to restoration of homeostasis in chondrocytes.

In her second paper, Al-Modawi investigated the role of different variants of miR-140-3p, so-called isomiRs. RNA-sequencing revealed that these variants also strongly inhibited inflammation and regulated several other immune responses. One isomiR in particular (5' isomiR) showed a greater potential and could potentially be a therapeutic agent not only for OA, but for other immune conditions including other arthritic diseases.

In her last paper she investigated the effect of negative control short RNA sequences, as these sequences were observed to show undesirable immunological off-target effects. This is a hurdle in this kind of research that needs to be overcome to ensure correct data interpretation. They are also an obstacle in clinical trials. This work brings attention to an important issue in research that is often missed, and asks for caution when dealing with RNA sequences.

Additional information

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Published Apr. 14, 2021 1:59 PM - Last modified Apr. 16, 2021 11:49 AM