Digital Public Defence: Berit Sletbakk Brusletto

MSc Berit Sletbakk Brusletto at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Quantitative cell responses in patients with meningococcal multiple organ failure or meningitis 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.

Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Egil Lien, University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA
  • Second opponent: Professor Trine Mogensen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Torill Sauer, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Ingebjørg Seljeflot, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Group leader Reidun Øvstebø, Oslo University Hospital


Meningococcal disease is a life-threatening infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. Our research group has established a biobank with blood, cerebrospinal fluid and tissue samples collected from meningococcal patients. The aim of the thesis was to analyze samples from these patients, by using new analytical methods, and elucidate the underlying pathophysiology of this infection using different biological materials.

In a prospective study from Ethiopia on patients infected with N. meningitidis or Streptococcus pneumoniae, the amount of N. meningitidis and lipopolysaccharides in CSF and blood were at the same level as in patients from Norway. In addition, we found that S. pneumoniae induced a different and possibly more powerful inflammation than N. meningitidis.

In formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) and fresh frozen post mortem tissue samples from patients with meningococcal septic shock we established methods for isolation of nucleic acids. The distribution of N. meningitidis in different tissue samples was explored and we detected N. meningitidis DNA in all tissue samples, with particularly high levels in heart and lungs. The storage time of archived tissue appears to have an impact on the amount quantifiable N. meningitidis DNA in FFPE tissue.

We further investigated the transcriptional profiles in the same post mortem tissue samples by quantifying RNA molecules by Affymetrix microarray analysis and found heavily activated tissue specific transcriptional signatures including organismal death and multiple defense mechanisms, which correlated to the bacterial load of N. meningitidis. The transcriptional signatures reflect the activation of thousands of specific genes, both protein-coding and non-coding RNA, in resident cells and of immune cells attracted to the different organs from the circulation which add up to severe organ failure.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Mar. 9, 2021 9:25 AM - Last modified Mar. 24, 2021 11:07 AM