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OARSI Weekly Briefing - August 20, 2021

Welcome to the OARSI Weekly Briefing - the single resource you need to stay up to date with OARSI & World Congress news, membership announcements, and happenings within the OARSI & OA community.

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August 20, 2021 Briefing-at-a-Glance
Board of Directors Nominations | Member Spotlight: Frank Beier  OARSI Spinal OA Discussion Groups | OARSI Live Call for Presenters | OARSI Connect '21 Recordings | Important Dates | Weekly Briefing Archive


Board of Directors Call for Nominations

The deadline to submit a nomination application for the OARSI Board of Directors is Tuesday, August 31st. The position is for a 4-year term beginning in May 2022. The Board requires members whose backgrounds, skills, and experience match the OARSI mission and its current and future needs. Service on the OARSI board demands a considerable commitment of time and talent to advance the goals and objectives of the organization. To learn more about the process and submit an application, please click HERE.


Member Spotlight: Frank Beier

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will spotlight the past Basic Research Award winners. This week’s Member Spotlight is 2019 winner, Frank Beier.

How long have you been a member of OARSI and why did you join?
I think I joined at the Rome meeting, 2009 I believe.  The reason I joined was that our research had evolved from pure developmental biology to include osteoarthritis studies, and OARSI was (and is) the logical international society to find like-minded colleagues.

What do you enjoy most about OARSI?
My favourite part of OARSI is the annual conference, meeting colleagues and friends from all over the world and learning about the latest developments in our field. For me, the particular highlights of these meetings are usually the events organized by the Young Investigators - to meet the next generation of osteoarthritis researchers, to see them develop year over year, and to hopefully have some positive impact on their careers (through the mentoring sessions for example) is truly wonderful.

Tell us a little bit about your research?
My lab has performed genomic screens on rodent models of osteoarthritis to identity molecular changes during disease progression. From these studies, we have selected a number of genes and pathways that we now study using genetically modified mice.  Examples include the TGFalpha-EGFR-Mig6 pathway, several nuclear receptors, and the Pannexin channels.  In recent years, we have become particularly interested in comparing the role of these genes in different models of osteoarthritis, e.g. post-traumatic vs aging vs metabolic.

What does winning the Basic Science Award mean to you?
We have a large number of outstanding basic scientists in OARSI, and winning this award was a special honour for me and equally for the members of the lab, who did all the actual work. More generally, the award recognizes the use of mice as models for osteoarthritis research, which is gratifying to see.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities - camping with kids and grandkids, hiking, biking, etc. I also love to read (non-science) and to travel (once we can do this again). I am passionate about environmental issues and social justice as well.

Spinal Osteoarthritis Discussion Group

Osteoarthritis of the lower back is a common finding in the aging population and may lead to severe pain, decreased mobility and long-term disability. Signs of degenerative facet joints can be found in 80% of older individuals, whilst moderate or severe lumbar facet joint osteoarthritis (OA) can be observed in 89% of people aged 65 years and older. Whilst imaging techniques are used to diagnose spinal OA, clinical decisions correlating radiographic findings and spinal pain are complex and poorly understood. The consequence is that most episodes of low back pain presenting to primary care are classified as non-specific, i.e. with no identifiable cause or disease, largely resulting in a symptom-based condition, and consequently, symptom-based management, that offers small to modest benefits at best. Spinal OA is however under-represented in both OA and back pain research, perpetuating this problem. In 2018, we developed a working group of spinal OA, including various OARSI members, with the main aim of identifying and classifying spinal OA and its impact on the management and burden of low back pain in the older patient. Our working group was selected to present a pre-OARSI Conference in 2019 and in 2020 the Spinal OA working group became the current Spinal OA Discussion Group with our first meeting held in April 2021. 

The aim of the DG is to raise awareness and scientific and clinical robustness of the diagnosis and management of Spinal OA. The activities carried out by the DG include:

Workshop on spinal OA definition, phenotype and management at the 2019 OARSI Conference
Survey of OARSI members on the need for a phenotype definition of Spinal OA
Workshop on spinal OA definition, phenotype and management at the 2019 International Low Back and Neck Pain Forum (premier low back pain conference worldwide)
Survey of LBP Forum attendees on the need for a phenotype definition of Spinal OA
Delphi exercise to define Spinal OA for both research and clinical practice purposes. The manuscript will be published soon!

If you want to learn more about the DG or get involved in some of our activities, please contact:

Prof. Manuela Ferreira –

Prof. Chris Little –

Prof. Sita Bierma-Zeinstra -

Dr. Katie de Luca -


OARSI Live Call for Presenters

The OARSI Live webinar series is currently on hiatus and will resume this fall. We are looking to schedule our fall program and are seeking webinar presenters. If you would like to present on an OARSI Live webinar, please contact Vincenzo Nelli with a brief summary of your proposed presentation.


OARSI Connect '21 Recordings

Did you know that all of the recorded sessions from OARSI Connect ‘21 are available to registered attendees through April 2022!? If you missed a session because you attended another session or it occurred at a time that was inconvenient for you, you can view it by logging into the virtual meeting website. Just navigate to the Agenda page and select the session(s) you want to view.

If you missed OARSI Connect ‘21, you can still register and have access to the recordings. It simple, just register HERE.


Important Dates & Upcoming Deadlines

  • 2021 Membership Dues: Be sure to renew your OARSI dues. Renew Now.
  • August 31, 2021 - Call for Board of Director Nominations Deadline
  • April 6 - 10, 2022 - OARSI World Congress in Berlin, Germany


Past OARSI Weekly Briefings

Featured Resources

OARSI White Paper- OA as a Serious Disease

By Various

Patient Summary- Non Surgical Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis

By Multiple Authors