Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ai-Ling Lin


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia with various risk factors including age, environmental factors such as brain injury and genetic factors, such as the E4 allele of the Apolipoprotein gene. Presence of the APOE4 allele increases AD risk by two- to four- fold. Recent studies have shown that mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), even without loss of consciousness, increases risk of dementia diagnosis by more than two-fold in military personnel and is also a significant environmental risk factor for developing dementia in the general population. The gut-brain axis (GBA) or bi-directional communication between the brain and gut microbiome, has been a topic of investigation in mitigating symptoms after mTBI and throughout AD development. The gut microbiome can be modulated to improve one’s overall health. One way to manipulate the composition of the gut microbiome is by the ingestion of prebiotics, non-digestible carbohydrates that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. The prebiotic that will be employed in these studies is inulin, which is found in chicory root and other vegetables, such as broccoli. The literature suggests that manipulation of the gut microbiome may be actionable to reduce symptoms after mTBI and decrease risk for dementia. We will test the hypothesis that modulating the gut microbiome with prebiotic inulin will reduce symptoms of mTBI and will decrease risk of AD-like symptoms in animal models.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by

National Institute on Aging (no.: ROIAG054459, RF1AG062480) from 2018-2021


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (no.: T32DK0077788) from 2018-2020