Public Defence: Riad Hajdarevic

Msc Riad Hajdarevic at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Immunogenetic studies in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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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.

Trial Lecture – time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Chris Ponting, The University of Edinburgh
  • Second opponent: Researcher Eirik Bratland, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Hanne-Cathrin Flinstad Harbo, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Anne Cathrine Staff, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Researcher Marte Kathrine Viken, Oslo University Hospital


Myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic and debilitating disease that affects about 0.1-0.2% of the general population. The core symptoms are persistent debilitating fatigue, post-exertional malaise (PEM) and cognitive dysfunction. Most symptoms of ME/CFS are not disease specific. Additionally, there is a lack of both biomarkers and diagnostic tests for the disease, which makes accurate diagnosis difficult. More than 20 different patient classifications and diagnostic criteria have emerged over the last four decades. Due to this, the patient population can be quite heterogeneous in terms of clinical symptoms and the extent to which the disease impacts quality of life. There are several different theories that aim to explain the disease development of ME/CFS. In this thesis, we have taken as our starting point the growing evidence for an immunological background for ME/CFS pathogenesis. Several studies have pointed to altered NK cells, autoantibodies and T cell abnormalities in ME/CFS patients. In addition, several genetic studies reported significant associations in various immunologically relevant genes. Most of these previous studies have been suboptimal and included heterogeneous patient populations and/or few patients in total. Therefore, we aimed to gain a better understanding of the role of immunologically relevant genes and disease development of ME/CFS. To do this, we employed known strategies from genetic studies in autoimmune disease and applied them to ME/CFS. We used strict quality control and included, to the best of our knowledge, the largest cohort diagnosed with the Canadian consensus criteria.

Additional information

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Published May 19, 2022 10:36 AM - Last modified June 1, 2022 12:26 PM