Viral CNS infections

Research group
Active research
Project owner
Institute of Biomedicine

Short description

Marie Studahl's research group studies viral infections of the brain mainly caused by tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) encephalitis and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) meningitis as well as pediatric CNS virus infections. Our overall aim is to diminish the negative effects on the brain after viral CNS infections. Patients are included in clinical studies and are followed for a long time with neuropsychological assessments which are evaluated. We study the burden of the infections in the brain, improve recognition by evaluation of new microbiological methods, study biomarkers of severe CNS disease including genetic predisposition and immunological factors. We search for prognostic biomarkers to be used in treatment studies.

We study viral infections of the central nervous system (CNS) mainly caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2), tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), and pediatric viral CNS infections. 

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 analyzes 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 virus 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 herpes encephalitis and meningitis as well as TBE 
  • CNS parechovirus infections in neonates and children 
  • The value of NGS diagnostics in CNS infections of unknown origin
  • Meningoencephalitis After Tick-Bite (MEATB-study)
  • Evaluation of neuropsychological test batteries after viral CNS infections

Group members

Malin Veje M.D, Ph.D

Sara Morgardt M.D, Ph.D-student

Karolina Rembeck M.D, Ph.D

Erika Stentoft M.D, Ph.D-student

Anja Nääs M.D, Ph.D-student

Johan Lindström M.D, Ph.D