DexEnceph - A Randomised, Controlled, Trial of Dexamethasone in Herpes Simplex Virus Encephalitis

Deadline: Sunday, July 15, 2018.

Competition Funded PhD Project (UK students only)

Who to Contact: Professor Tom Solomon




Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) encephalitis is a devastating brain infection. DexEnceph will determine whether corticosteroids improve neuropsychological outcomes in HSV encephalitis. If corticosteroids are shown to improve the outcome then they will become part of the standard management for all patients, and will be incorporated into future updates of the National Encephalitis Guidelines.

For further information relating to the trial please click here

You will complete neuropsychology assessments, provide analysis and write up publications using data collected from patients over multiple years of recruitment. 

The primary outcome of the study is verbal memory. Other outcome measures will include other neuropsychological assessments including visual memory, immediate and delayed memory, language, processing speed amongst others. Clinical outcomes will also be assessed, as will functional outcomes measured with outcome scores including Glasgow outcome score, modified Rankin Score and Liverpool outcome score. Patients will also have blood tests, lumbar punctures and MRI scans that will inform additional sub studies investigating pathogenesis and changes in neuroimaging. 

Responsibilities will include: 
• Assist with designing, producing and regularly update programme material including essential documentation according to relevant ethical, Regulatory and Governance frameworks and Good Clinical Practice guidelines 
• Facilitate in patient recruitment to make sure that essential programme milestones are met 
• Recruit healthy matched participants 
• Carry out neuropsychological testing 
• Assist with the development and management of an OpenClinica database 
• Carry out statistical analyses 
• Manuscript preparation and publication 
• Travel to UK locations as part of patient recruitment 
• The work will require excellent ability to liaise with clinicians, other academic departments, and fellow researchers. 

You will join and support the multi-disciplinary Liverpool Brain Infections UK Group, which is led by Professor Tom Solomon. The Group has conducted research on central nervous system infections of major global importance.

There may also be score to get involved in other neuropsychology studies within the Brain Infections UK portfolio or develop your own additional project within DexEnceph. 

The successful applicant will be linked to the close and supportive team of clinical neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, assistant psychologists and researchers in the Department of Neuropsychology at the Walton Centre through the neuropsychology lead for DexEnceph, Dr Perry Moore. The neuropsychology department provides specialist assessment and input into the management of patients at the Walton Centre, a recognised clinical centre of excellence. The Department of Neuropsychology regularly has vacancies for paid employment within the department, which a successful part time applicant would be able to apply for if they wished to increase the number of hours they were employed per week and to gain clinical experience within the service. 


Open to EU/UK applicants

Funding information

Funded studentship. The DexEnceph trial is funded by NIHR. This PhD fellowship is possible through additional support of the Encephalitis Society.