Sam Parnia is an Assistant professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received his medical degree from the Guy's and St. Thomas’ Hospitals (UMDS) of the University of London in 1995 and his PhD in cell biology from the University of Southampton in the UK in 2006. Parnia is director of resuscitation research at the State University of New York in Stony Brook and director of the Human Consciousness Project at the University of Southampton.

Parnia is known for his involvement in the field of emergency medicine and cardiac arrest resuscitation, which is considered to be his field of expertise. One of his areas of concentration has been in the incorporation of cerebral oximetry during cardiac arrest care as a marker of the quality of oxygen delivery to the brain during resuscitation.

As a member of the Consciousness Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, he has also published theories on the nature of human mind and consciousness. This research has included investigation of near-death experiences. Parnia is often confronted with the paranormal aspect of his research, and the resistance to the type of studies that he is conducting in the mind/brain-area. His answer has been that he does not consider it to be paranormal, but to represent a new field of science.