Within the Institute of Infectious Diseases, the research efforts of the Neuroinfection Lab are focussed on infectious diseases of the brain with an emphasis on processes of neuronal injury and brain tissue repair in infectious-inflammatory diseases of the brain. An expertise of the group is the complementary work in vitro and – when necessary – in vivo disease models of CNS infections, assessment of parameters of brain inflammation and brain damage, disease monitoring by imaging and neuro-functional assessment for the pre-clinical evaluation of molecular therapeutics.

The clinical outcome of central nervous system infections is determined by the brain’s response to the pathogen. How infection leads to brain injury remains largely unresolved. An impediment to progress is the complexity of pathophysiologic processes, which involve a variety of microbial pathogens and spatially and temporally distinct mechanisms of brain damage, with the involvement of multiple mediators, immune cell types, target cells and pathways. Being a complex multifactorial disease, which is modulated by the interaction of the different brain cells with the microbial pathogens, infectious diseases of the CNS are prime targets for multidisciplinary efforts using integrative technologies including clinically relevant in vivo disease models combined with new imaging techniques, bioinformatics, assessment of biomarkers and neuro-functional outcome measurements. Based on the knowledge gained from the basic research the group translationally develops and evaluates interventions that protect the brain from acute damage and support restorative functions of the brain e.g. neurogenesis. Novel therapeutic concepts that attenuate brain damage and support brain repair are further evaluated for their potential to preserve neuro-integrative function e.g. learning and hearing capacity in long term survivors of bacterial meningitis and other infectious and inflammatory diseases of the brain.


  • Neuroinfection Laboratory


  • In vivo infection models in rodents and zebrafish
  • In vitro in organotypic slices, and cell cultures
  • Quantitative neuro-histomorphometry
  • The entire spectrum of microbiological methods
  • Host pathogen interactions
  • Assessment of parameters of brain inflammation, brain damage and regeneration
  • Neuroimaging to monitor disease
  • Assessment learning and memory by the morris water maze
  • Assessment of hearing by auditory evoked potentials
  • The pre-clinical evaluation of new neuroprotective/neuroregenerative therapeutic modalities


Prof. Dr. med. Stephen Leib