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Serena Spudich, MD, MA

Gilbert H. Glaser Professor of Neurology; Division Chief, Neurological Infections & Global Neurology; Co-Director, Yale Center for Brain & Mind Health; Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health

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Serena Spudich, MD, MA

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Research Summary

Our group’s clinical and translational research focuses on characterization of the central nervous system in humans with HIV and other infections. Our long-term goal is to understand and develop effective treatments for neurological complications of infectious diseases. Our particular interest is in the early establishment of central nervous system inflammation and injury in the nervous system in acute infection, and how this relates to ongoing neurologic damage, persistent infection within the central nervous system, and enduring neurological impairment in people with HIV and other infections.

Our current program employs a multidisciplinary approach to patient-oriented research in neuroHIV and other infectious diseases through fruitful collaborations with researchers in immunology, radiology, neuropsychology, virology, and molecular biomarkers. Our studies focus on study participants who can reveal unique facets of neuropathogenesis of viral infections, including individuals with acute or early HIV infection, patients at different stages of treatment with antiretroviral therapy, and individuals with cerebrospinal fluid HIV escape (detected HIV in the central nervous system despite effective treatment in the blood). We also perform clinical studies aimed to reduce early establishment of central nervous system reservoirs for HIV infection, and studies interrogating the cellular landscape of brain tissue from donors with HIV and substance use disorders. Since 2020, we have applied tools that we have developed over the past 20 years in studies of HIV neuropathogesis to systematic studies of the biological processes underlying neurologic symptoms persisting post-acute COVID-19.

We study participants recruited at urban centers in the US and international sites including Bangkok, Thailand. Broader involvement with the design and implementation of multicenter studies relevant to neurological infections is facilitated by Dr. Spudich’s positions within the international AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) through an affiliation with the Cornell AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, and as CoPI of the NIH/NINDS-funded Yale NeuroNEXT clinical site.

Specialized Terms: HIV; AIDS; Central nervous system inflammation; Viral compartmentalization; Acute infection; HIV reservoirs; Magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Diffusion tensor imaging; Neural markers; Cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers


Research Interests

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; Antiviral Agents; Cerebrospinal Fluid; Dementia; HIV; Nervous System; Neurology; Virology; Positron-Emission Tomography; Biomarkers, Pharmacological; COVID-19

Public Health Interests

Aging; Biomarkers; Disease Transmission; HIV/AIDS; Immunology; Infectious Diseases; Viruses

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
COVID-19 OutpatientMagnetic Resonance Imaging Biomarkers: A tool to study central nervous system disease (MBAT)
COVID-19 Inpatient; COVID-19 Outpatient; Diseases of the Nervous System; HIV/AIDS; Infectious DiseasesHIV Associated Reservoirs and Comorbidities (The HARC Plus Study)
HIV/AIDSMechanisms of HIV latency
HIV/AIDS; Immune System; Infectious DiseasesEstablish and Characterize an Acute HIV Infection Cohort in a High Risk Population
HIV/AIDSBrain Connections & HIV Status