Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Microbiology and Immunology


Dr. Gregory Dekaban


Concussions are generating increasing concern due to potential long-term neurological consequences. Currently there is no universally recognized diagnostic approach for concussion. I hypothesize that a signature temporal response of biomarkers of inflammation in systemic circulation will provide an objective diagnosis of concussion and could also be used to track patient recovery. The Western University women’s rugby team underwent blood draws at pre-season and post-season as a baseline evaluation, and players determined to have sustained a concussion underwent repeat blood analysis post-concussion. Blood samples were analyzed by flow cytometry to profile immune cell populations alongside accepted concussion assessments, and complete blood count. Immune profiles demonstrated significant changes in total leukocytes and subsets post-concussion compared to baseline. It was demonstrated that we could successfully and feasibly recruit and perform a discovery investigation into potential blood biomarkers of concussion longitudinally. My study provides new insights for future blood biomarker research of concussive injury.