Grad Student Aliyah Snyder is Awarded CTSI Clinical Research Pilot Grant


Aliyah SnyderCHP graduate student, Aliyah Snyder, was recently awarded a CTSI Clinical Research Pilot Grant. This will fund her dissertation research, which will also involve a parallel preclinical (animal) exercise intervention in collaboration with Floyd Thompson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Physiological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Research Career Scientist, VA Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence. “This is really a great achievement for a student.” Says Dr. Russell Bauer, Snyder’s advisor. Details on the project are below.

Title:   “Aerobic Exercise Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: An Investigation of the Effects on BDNF and Neurorecovery.”


Authors:  Snyder, A. (PI), Bauer, R.M., Thompson, F., Yarrow, J., Langaee, T. & Lai, S.


Abstract: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, is a costly and common public health “epidemic.” Despite its prevalence and negative impact, clinical after-care is limited (especially for service members and youth athletes), and there are no interventions which have been empirically-proven to improve clinical outcome after mTBI. The purpose of this project is to assess the role of aerobic exercise as a mechanism for neuro-recovery after mTBI by way of upregulating brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a biomarker for neuroplasticity, and an important component of reparative pathways after brain injury.  mTBI patients will be randomized to two groups during the post-acute recovery period (14 – 20 days post-injury):1) daily aerobic exercise intervention lasting for one week and 2) daily cognitive-training intervention group lasting for one week.  A healthy, non-injured participant group will serve as a control. Circulating BDNF concentration derived from blood serum and platelet-poor plasma will be the main outcome measure, but functional recovery outcomes will also be assessed through neurocognitive, behavioral, and neuroimaging measures.  The impact of genotype status for APOE and BDNF val66met polymorphisms will be investigated.  Overall, it is expected that the exercise group will demonstrate improved physiological and functional recovery after mTBI.


Award Amount:  $27,453.75