Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Susan Buraceski; Louise McCullough

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Biology | Cell and Developmental Biology | Medical Microbiology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neurosciences | Other Cell and Developmental Biology | Other Immunology and Infectious Disease | Physiology | Systems and Integrative Physiology


Each year, nearly 800,000 individuals residing in the United States will have a stroke. Of these, about 130,000 cases will prove fatal while many of the survivors will be forced to live with disability for the remainder of their lives. Out of all strokes over 87% are ischemic strokes. The widespread incidence of this debilitating condition costs the United States an estimated $36.5 billion dollars every single year. Despite this, clinicians are armed with very little to combat the disease. Recent research developments have brought about the rise in awareness about the importance of the microbiome, the various gut flora present in all organisms, in relation to disease prevention, management, and treatment. There is growing support that a mechanistic link could exist between the microbiome and functional recovery following ischemic stroke. This paper seeks to explore the growing body of research regarding the importance of the microbiome to health and finally explore whether the same concepts could be applied to improve functional recovery following ischemic stroke.