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2018 Department of Pharmacology Memorial Award Recipients

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Dr. Satu Somani was one of the original faculty members of the SIU-SOM Department of Pharmacology and a dedicated scientist educator.  He loved teaching, often asking for more time to teach additional material he felt important to the student’s medical education.  Dr. Somani passed suddenly in 2002.  To honor Dr. Somani’s memory, a fund was setup by Mrs. Somani to enable the Department of Pharmacology to annually award an outstanding student of Medical Pharmacology a monetary stipend.  In addition a plaque with the recipient’s name hangs outside the departmental office on the 3rd floor of 801.  The 2018 award recipient is Jordon Mitzelfelt.  Ms. Mitzelfelt is a third year medical student.  As a top ten student in her Sophomore Pharmacology unit, she was given the opportunity to participate in writing a paper for this award. 


In 1996 the Barbara Armour Memorial Award was created in the Department of Pharmacology to commemorate Barbara Lawhorn Armour, an outstanding senior researcher in Dr. Donald Caspary's laboratory.  Barbara passed in 1995 from cancer.  The award recognizes outstanding contribution to research efforts of faculty by SIU School of Medicine employees holding the Researcher position title.  Nominations for the award are submitted by research faculty.  The Barbara Armour Memorial Award is presented at a ceremony and the recipient's name is inscribed on a plaque in the Pharmacology Department.  This year’s recipient is Nicole Cosenza.  She was nominated by not only Dr. Kathleen Campbell, whose lab Nicole works in, but also by each of her co-workers.  Dr. Campbell states in her nomination letter “I knew Barbara Armour when she worked here and Nicole certainly has the same fine qualities of excellent scientific background and curiosity, high productivity, flexibility, flawless dedication and work ethic, team spirit and kindness”.


Since 1994, the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at SIU School of Medicine has honored a high school or college student with the Hemal Vakharia Memorial Award.  This honorary award is in memory of Hemal Vakharia, a summer high school student who died in an automobile accident in 1992.  Nominations for the award are made by faculty for high school or college students who have provided significant assistance to faculty research efforts.  The award is given in a ceremony by presentation to the successful nominee and inscription of the student's name on a plaque mounted in the Pharmacology Department.   The 2018 recipient is Bridget Brian.  Bridget is a 2018 graduate of the University of Illinois – Springfield who majored in Biology. Dr. Brandon Cox nominated Bridget after she completed a recent internship in her lab.  Dr. Cox stated “Her significant contributions and strong dedication to research makes her an excellent candidate for this award”.

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