Student Research Spotlight: Samuel P. Prahlow (DO ‘24) September 14, 2021
Atherosclerosis disease and more
Samuel P. Prahlow (DO ‘24) holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Valparaiso
University and a master’s degree in public health from Florida State University. He
is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program at PCOM South Georgia. Prahlow has been involved in a number of research
projects during his undergraduate and graduate education, and his drive for understanding
the ‘why’ and ‘how’ has led him to continue that work during his time at PCOM South Georgia.
What does your research study?
Currently, I am working on a few different scientific research projects. At PCOM South
Georgia, I am working on a histologic pathology research project with professors Savita Arya, MD, and Shiv Dhiman, MD, along with fellow DO students Emily Wilson, Anthony M. Sciuva, and Katie Bombly.
We are studying cadaveric atherosclerosis.
I am also working on two forensic pathology case studies. The first focuses on the
characterization of CPR-related injuries discovered at forensic autopsy. The second
is a collaboration with fellow DO student, Trung Thanh Bui, which involves forensic
deaths related to eye trauma.
What prompted you to pursue research?
I have always enjoyed discovering how things work. This passion led me to pursue research.
Knowing how something works is great, but I believe understanding “the why” behind
the how is also essential. Research helps to answer both “the how” and “the why”,
which is the reason I have been drawn to it.
I also want to take a moment to say that research is collaborative in all facets of
the word. I would not be able to be where I am today without my research experience
or without those who have mentored, taught and helped me to find research areas of
I want to acknowledge and thank all who have helped me in my research experience thus
far in my career. One such mentor that I would like to publicly thank is my father.
On top of being a wonderful role model, he has helped guide me on my journey to becoming
a physician in so many ways, but especially in the areas of research and research
What experience do you have conducting research?
While pursuing my undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University, I participated in
a mathematics research internship under one of my professors. Our graph theory research
project was interested in k-dense graphs as a means of improving network knowledge
and surveillance. Since that time, my passion for research has grown.
Shortly after my internship, I began working on forensic pathology case reports which
focused on adding unique findings seen at forensic autopsies to the scientific literature
through presentations and publications. I have extensive experience in forensic pathology
case reports on a variety of subjects which were presented at the National Association
of Medical Examiners (NAME) and American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) annual
conferences going back to 2015.
More recently, while pursuing my MPH at Florida State University, I worked at the
Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology as a system analyst for ESSENCE-FL,
the statewide syndromic surveillance system. While in this position, I led a number
of research projects with the ESSENCE-FL team that were presented at the International
Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
(CSTE) annual conferences, including:
- Justification for Collecting Urgent Care Data to Broaden Syndromic Surveillance
Strategy and Approach to Onboarding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Data Into a Syndromic
- Characterizing Deaths Related to Hurricane Michael Using Vital Statistics Data
- Characterizing Differences In Care Seeking Behavior in Emergency Departments and Free-Standing
Emergency Departments in Florida
These projects focused on data onboarding and data usage for a variety of data sources
As a DO student at PCOM South Georgia, in addition to the current histological pathology
research, I have worked with professor Leslie McIntosh, PhD, and fellow DO classmates Derek T. George, Travis Tuck and Cody Hyatt on a case report
for anatomical variations seen within our cadaver’s forearm extensor compartment.
What were your responsibilities in this research project?
In the ongoing PCOM South Georgia histological pathology research project, we worked
as a group to determine what type of project we wanted to pursue. I was responsible
for compiling a list of ideas that we submitted to Dr. Arya and Dr. Dhiman for approval.
Once we settled on a project focus, we collaboratively wrote up a project plan, budget,
and projected timeline. After our project was approved for funding, we worked with
Dr. Arya and Dr. Dhiman to take samples from each of the 12 cadavers for histological
slides. We will be reviewing these slides in the near future and presenting our findings.
What is the broader impact of your research?
While the research is conducted on cadavers, it is much like primary research, wherein
the actual research does not impact the research subjects, but instead, the results
can be used to impact health and healthcare decisions as it relates to improving health
outcomes for others. Through this research, we hope to better characterize systemic
atherosclerosis as seen within the population of the southeastern United States. Public
policy and healthcare decisions can use this characterization to impact and improve
outcomes related to atherosclerosis disease.
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About PCOM South Georgia
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the
Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both
a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit
institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields.
Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state,
PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The
medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019,
has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission
on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
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