Student Research Spotlight November 4, 2020
Prakshal Jain (DO ’23)
Prakshal Jain (DO ’23) graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of
Science degree in Biology. While he was a student at the University of Georgia, he
was involved in a neurobiology lab, which studied Drosophila’s neuronal pathways relating
to odor mediated feeding behavior and how it is similar to humans. Following graduation,
he worked as an ophthalmic technician before enrolling in the osteopathic medicine program at PCOM Georgia.
In as lay terms as possible, what are you studying?
I studied the optimal intensities that can optimally activate/deactivate the cerebellum.
The cerebellum is a complex structure of neurons found in our brain. It is associated
with coordination of movement, posture, coordination of head and eye movements, etc.
Many diseases such as cerebellar ataxia can lead to over/under functioning of this
structure. Hence, understanding this structure further through different intensities
can guide us to treat many cerebellar conditions.
What prompted you to pursue research?
I was introduced to research while taking a course at the University of Georgia. I
realized how interesting the research process was, and specifically the human brain.
The curiosity to learn about the human brain led me to spend two years as a student
researcher in a neurobiology lab. My interest reignited during medical school when
I spent hours in the anatomy lab learning about the human brain and realizing how
the cerebellum is a crucial component in our everyday lives. I then was introduced
to Dr. Huo Lu’s neuroscience lab that researched cerebellar pathways in the brain.
What experience do you have conducting research?
Our research focused on finding the optimal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
(tDCS) required to stimulate the cerebellum’s Purkinje cell and measure its effects
on the cerebellum as well as the cerebral cortex. We obtained our results through
performing surgical procedures on live rat brains. This type of brain stimulation
has been shown to treat patient’s symptoms with several diseases, however there has
been a limited amount of research on making a standard protocol for intensities in
What were your responsibilities in the research project?
This research was a collective work accomplished through the guidance of our research
professor, Huo Lu, PhD, professor of anatomy and neuroscience in the Department of Bio-Medical Sciences, and a team of three students, Caleb Jerris (DO ’23), George Mathew (DO ’23) and
me. As a team leader for this project, I was responsible for organizing our schedules
and procedures, as well as maintaining a timeline. We could not have done it without
each other’s support.
What is the broader impact of your research?
Our student research team had the opportunity to present this research at the 2020
Osteopathic Medical Education (OMED) Conference Virtual Poster Session held October
16, 2020. We hope that this opportunity was only the beginning of many more to come.
In addition, we hope that our research findings can guide similar research on affected
rat brains and eventually help patients with cerebellar dysfunctions.
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
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