Prof. Dr. Stephen L. Leib

Prof. Dr. S. Leib

Neuroinfectious Diseases Laboratory
Institute for Infectious Diseases
University of Bern
Friedbühlstrasse 51
CH-3010 Bern
Phone: +41 31 632 49 49



Activties and Research Interests

Prof. Dr. med. Stephen L. Leib heads the Neuroinfectiology Laboratory at the Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern and the Biology Division of Spiez Laboratory, Federal Office for Civil Protection. His research interests include mechanisms of brain injury and regeneration in infectious diseases of the central nervous system with particular emphasis on Bacterial meningitis (BM). He serves on the board of the Swiss Society for Infectious Diseases as the President of the prizes commission and is currently President of the Meningitis study group of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

BM causes brain damage characterized by apoptosis in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, a region critical for memory acquisition harboring a stem cell niche and leads to persisting neurofunctional deficits in surviving patients [1-3]. Our focus in research is on strategies to protect, support, and/or reconstitute hippocampal neurogenesis to improve long-term neurofunctional outcome in BM, using stem cell transplantation and pharmacological interventions targeting stem cells.
To this end pathological mechanisms are targeted and interventions evaluated in an established rat model of BM [1-5] including agents that protect the stem cell niche (e.g. inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases), trophic factors and agents that promote neurogenesis.
We have demonstrated that fetal neuronal precursor cells (NPCs) transplanted in rats after BM migrated into the damaged hippocampus and differentiated into immature neurons with neurite outgrowth of the transplanted NPCs [2]. Combining NPCs with bone marrow derived stem cells (BMSCs) may increase effectiveness by the local production of trophic factors or modulate the immunologic microenvironment. The therapeutic effect will be evaluated in the acute disease and neurofunctional outcome including hearing, vision and learning capacity.



Selected publications

1. Adjunctive daptomycin attenuates brain damage and hearing loss more efficiently than rifampin in infant rat pneumococcal meningitis.
Grandgirard D, Burri M, Agyeman P, Leib SL.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Aug;56(8):4289-95.

2. Grafted neuronal precursor cells differentiate and integrate in injured hippocampus in experimental pneumococcal meningitis.
Hofer S, Magloire V, Streit J, Leib SL. Stem Cells. 2012 Jun;30(6):
1206-15. doi: 10.1002/stem.1097.

3. Bacterial meningitis impairs hippocampal neurogenesis.
Hofer S, Grandgirard D, Burri D, Fröhlich TK, Leib SL.J Neuropathol Exp Neurol.
2011 Oct;70(10):890-9.

4. Adjunctive dexamethasone affects the expression of genes related to inflammation, neurogenesis and apoptosis in infant rat pneumococcal
Blaser C, Wittwer M, Grandgirard D, Leib SL. PLoS One.
2011 Mar 11;6(3):e17840.

5. Tracking the transcriptional host response from the acute to the regenerative phase of experimental pneumococcal meningitis.
Wittwer M, Grandgirard D, Rohrbach J, Leib SL. BMC Infect Dis.
2010 Jun 17;10:176