Viral CNS infections

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Institute of Biomedicine

Short description

Marie Studahl's research group study brain infections mainly caused by viruses i.e tick-borne CNS encephalitis virus (TBEV), parecho-enteroviruses and different herpes virus infections. Our overall aim is to diminish the negative effects on the brain after CNS infections. Patients are included in clinical studies and are followed for a long time. Neurologic complications after covid-19 are also investigated. We describe the burden of the infections in the brain, improve recognition by evaluation of new microbiological methods, study biological markers of severe disease including genetic predisposition and immunological factors. We perform treatment - and follow-up studies with neuropsychological assessments.

We study viral infections of the central nervous system (CNS) caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2), tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), varicella zoster virus (VZV), and entero- parechovirus in children and adults. We also investigate neurological complications after covid-19.

The research concept comprises inclusion of patients in long-term follow-up studies with neuroimaging, neurological and cognitive assessments to enable correlation between outcome and biochemical markers in cerebrospinal fluid and blood which may be potentially prognostic. Antiviral pharmacokinetic studies as well as treatment studies have been performed in herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) and HSV-2 meningitis and future studies are planned.

In collaboration with the Microbiology Department we explore diagnostic tools in viral CNS infections such as antibody analyses and molecular biological methods i.e next generation sequencing (NGS). Together with the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology we evaluate prognostic biomarkers to be used in future treatment studies. Finally, we study genetic predisposition and immunological factors to understand why some individuals are affected with severe CNS infection and others are not.

On-going studies

  • Prognostic biomarkers and neuroimaging in relation to neurological and neuropsychological outcome in viral CNS infections
  • The long-term sequels after herpes simplex encephalitis
  • Genetic predisposition in TBE and herpes virus CNS infections
  • Parecho- and enterovirus infections in neonates, children and adults
  • The value of NGS diagnostics in CNS infections of unknown origin
  • The impact of SARS- CoV2 (covid-19) on CNS
  • Meningoencephalitis After Tick-Bite (MEATB-study)

Group members

Anna Grahn, M.D, Ph.D, asst. group leader
Karolina Rembeck, M.D, Ph.D
Malin Veje, M.D, Ph.D
Johan Lindström, M.D, Ph.D
Sara Morgardt M.D, Ph.D-student
Tobias Tyrberg,M.D, Ph.D student
Erika Stentoft, M.D, Ph.D student
Karolina Alsén, M.D, Ph.D student