Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type



Biological Science


College of Natural and Health Sciences

Primary Advisor

Dr. Aimee Franklin


One of the most common, as well as one of the most dangerous injuries amongst athletes today is mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), commonly known as concussion. Aside from physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches; concussions have can have longterm effects on brain physiology. A common neurological disease that can result from multiple concussions is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), characterized by symptoms such as severe depression, anxiety, confusion, and aggression; amongst others.1 On the cellular level, CTE is classified by a unique pathway that leads to the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein and subsequent clumping of tau-containing neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs).2 Tau hyperphosphorylation and aggregation is also a key characteristic of a similar neurological condition, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Emerging active immunization treatment methods, including the ACI-35 and AADVac-1 vaccines, have been clinically tested in Alzheimer's patients with the goal of reducing hyperphosphorylation of tau and its effects.3 Because of the similarity between the two diseases, this paper takes a look at the possibility of applying this active immunotherapy treatment to patients who are likely to develop CTE.