Mary Prahl, MD

Dr. Prahl is a clinician-scientist engaged in translational research evaluating human immune responses to malaria during pregnancy and early childhood to facilitate the development of novel strategies for disease prevention in low-resource settings. This research is based on collaborations with Makerere University in Uganda. Dr. Prahl currently works in the Feeney lab at the ZSFGH Department of Experimental Medicine. Dr. Prahl’s guiding career focus is to decipher the biologic underpinnings of infectious diseases that afflict the impoverished, and to apply these findings to address global health challenges.

Dr. Prahl’s current work is aimed at understanding the immunologic consequences of in utero malaria exposure and malaria prevention on the immune system during fetal development and early childhood. Current malaria vaccines have been limited by poor immunogenicity in young children living in malaria endemic areas, and further research is needed to determine the reasons for these poor immune responses to malaria antigens in order to develop new tools to fight the malaria epidemic. Dr. Prahl’s work is aimed at evaluating potential contributing mechanisms of immune tolerance resulting from in utero malaria exposure and evaluating the effect of malaria control measures on the developing immune responses. In addition to her translational immunology work, Dr. Prahl aims to encourage and train future medical providers in global health careers.
2019 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training, University of California
Fellowship, 2016 - Pediatric Infectious Disease, UCSF
Residency, 2012 - Pediatrics, Northwestern/Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
M.D., 2009 - Medicine, University of Minnesota
B.S., 2004 - Biochemistry, College of Saint Scholastica
Honors and Awards
  • LRP Award, NIH, 2017-2021
  • Melvin M. Grumbach Award for Excellence in Research, UCSF, 2017
  • Merle A. Sande/Pfizer Fellowship Award in International Infectious Diseases, IDSA Foundation, 2014
  • Research Scholars Day Judges' Award, Northwestern University, 2012
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, Northwestern University, 2011
  • Resident Teaching Award, Children's Memorial Hospital/Northwestern University, 2009
  • Summa Cum Laude, College of Saint Scholastica, 2004
  1. Neutralizing antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants in gestational age-matched mother-infant dyads after infection or vaccination.
  2. Early non-neutralizing, afucosylated antibody responses are associated with COVID-19 severity.
  3. Antibodies elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection or mRNA vaccines have reduced neutralizing activity against Beta and Omicron pseudoviruses.
  4. Divergent early antibody responses define COVID-19 disease trajectories.
  5. Evaluation of transplacental transfer of mRNA vaccine products and functional antibodies during pregnancy and early infancy.
  6. Peripheral Plasmodium falciparum infection in early pregnancy is associated with increased maternal microchimerism in the offspring.
  7. Evaluation of transplacental transfer of mRNA vaccine products and functional antibodies during pregnancy and early infancy.
  8. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination in Lactation: Assessment of Adverse Events and Vaccine Related Antibodies in Mother-Infant Dyads.
  9. Infant Outcomes Following Maternal Infection with SARS-CoV-2: First Report from the PRIORITY Study.
  10. Evaluation of Messenger RNA From COVID-19 BTN162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines in Human Milk.
  11. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination in Lactation: Assessment of adverse effects and transfer of anti-SARS-CoV2 antibodies from mother to child.
  12. Passive and active immunity in infants born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy: prospective cohort study.
  13. Passive and active immunity in infants born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy: Prospective cohort study.
  14. Exposure to pesticides in utero impacts the fetal immune system and response to vaccination in infancy.
  15. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in a Preterm Pregnant Patient With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  16. In utero priming of highly functional effector T cell responses to human malaria.
  17. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy and risk of malaria in early childhood: A randomized controlled trial.
  18. Both inflammatory and regulatory cytokine responses to malaria are blunted with increasing age in highly exposed children.
  19. Sex Disparity in Cord Blood FoxP3+ CD4 T Regulatory Cells in Infants Exposed to Malaria In Utero.
  20. Timing of in utero malaria exposure influences fetal CD4 T cell regulatory versus effector differentiation.
  21. Another spin.
  22. Lactobezoar formation in two premature infants receiving medium-chain triglyceride formula.