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.
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.
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.
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 different diseases.
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.
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.
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 which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences 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. 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 pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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