About us

The Infection Neuroscience Lab (INL) is based at the Clinical Sciences Centre at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust working at the intersection between neuroscience and infection.

Photo of the INL team

The INL is led by Professor Benedict Michael, Chair in Infection Neuroscience and MRC Clinician Scientist at The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit for Emerging and Zoonotic Infection and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at The Walton Centre.

As a group, we are interested in working collectively, using our different medical specialities and skill sets, to understand the impact of infection on the brain, not just clinically, but also at an immunological, virologic, genetic, and neuroimaging level. Find out more about the INL team.

The lab are currently researching the clinical features and biological mechanisms of COVID-19 on the brain. The COVID-Clinical Neuroscience Study (COVID-CNS) has identified that even in young patients with COVID-19 strokes, potentially treatable risk factors, including hypertension and diabetes are key (Brain Comms 2021). We also identified the impact of ethnicity on CNS complications in children and adolescents (Lancet Child Adolesc Health).

Working with the WHO, our finding that a quarter of patients are asymptomatic for COVID-19 and a further quarter have recovered from COVID-19 symptoms, informed the WHO Screening Checklist and the Scientific Brief. At the Global Brain Health Clinical Exchange Platform, sponsored by the WHO's Brain Health unit, we disseminate emergent observations and guidance to physicians in more than 120 countries. Global connectivity has advanced data assimilation but requires internationally agreed approaches. With the WHO and World Federation of Neurology the INL are leading the global inter-observer study to validate both case definitions and neurological assessments performed by non-clinicians, who are the backbone of health care in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

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