NEUR 6226 Neuroinflammation and Neuroinfectious Diseases:

Neurological diseases are a growing challenge in today’s environment given that many infectious agents enter the central nervous system via several routes. Clinical symptoms are often overlooked or are misdiagnosed. Moreover, as the research community grows in respect to neuroinfectious diseases and neuroimmunology, an increase in trained students and postdocs in this area is critical. This course was developed to gain a deeper understanding of the physiology of the CNS, how neuroinvasive pathogens exploit the CNS, provide background information of several neurotropic biological agents and to discuss cutting edge technologies. Lastly, we will compare how several neurodegenerative diseases share common neuropathology and disease characteristics with infections of the CNS. This course features case presentations and lectures from UTMB experts.

Offered Spring terms: next offered term Spring 2023 (T,Th)

Featuring case presentations and lectures from UTMB experts. Including faculty from Microbiology and Immunology; Neurology; Neuroscience & Cell Biology; Internal Medicine; Pathology; Gastroenterology; Ophthalmology; and guest lecturers.


Overview of the immune response: Viruses, Bacteria and Parasites:
Recap lecture of the host immune response. Includes an overview of both innate and adaptive immune responses to microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Overview of Neuroanatomy: Brain structures, functional regions, cellular components:
Brief lecture describing the anatomy of the CNS.

Neuroimmune function in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis (EAE):
This lecture will discuss EAE, a complex condition stemming from interactions between neuro/immunopathological mechanisms leading to gliosis, inflammation, axonal loss, and demyelination.

The blood brain barrier (BBB): Neurovascular unit, lymphatics, cerebral spinal fluid (CSF):
The BBB is one of the most common areas of infiltration of pathogens into the CNS. The BBB is part of the neurovascular unit which will be covered in further detail. Moreover, the immune system of the CNS will be covered including the interactions between the brain, lymphatics, and the CSF.

The Neuroimmune response:
A lecture discussing the host immune response in the CNS.

Microbiota and Neuro-immune interactions in the gut:
This lecture will discuss the microbiota-brain communication as an important factor in brain function.

Virus, bacteria, and parasite infections of the CNS:
Dedicated lectures of several viruses, bacteria and parasites that are reported to enter the CNS including: Herpes simplex virus encephalitis, Flavivirus encephalitis, alphavirus encephalitis, Cerebral malaria, HIV-associated neurocognitive diseases, Enterovirus encephalitis, prion disease, negative strand encephalopathies (LCMV, bornavirus, nipah virus), Toxoplasma, listeria encephalitis, TB meningitis.

Covid-related neurological outcomes:
These lectures will discuss the growing research and clinical cases that reported with Long-Covid infections. Lectures will also provide descriptions of mechanisms of CNS infiltration and neurotoxicity.

Animal models and Neurobehavioral approaches:
These lectures will provide the students with currently used animal models used to investigate neuroinfectious pathogens and what types of experimental behavioral assays are utilized to study neurodegeneration and neurological sequelae.

Cutting edge technologies: Animal models, neurobehavioral approaches, imaging, markers, in vitro approaches:
This lecture will provide information of new and cutting-edge technologies that have advanced the Neuroinfectious disease and neuroinflammation fields.