SIU School of Medicine\About SIU School of MedicineDirectoriesNews and InformationSIU CarbondaleSearch
SIU School of Medicine-News Releases
CalendarCampus NewsMapsReleasesTours and SpeakersLogo/Identity Overview

Media Registry
Radio Newsline
Faculty and Staff Bios and Photos
Photo Archive
Public Affairs Staff

June 10, 2009

SIU Med School Announces Two Student Awards

Two student research awards have been announced by the Department of Pharmacology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.

The Satu M. Somani Memorial Award was presented to Dr. Martha L. Hlafka, a 2009 graduate from Bunker Hill.  The cash award is presented to a senior medical student for outstanding performance in pharmacology and therapeutics.  Hlafka is the daughter of James and Sandra Hlafka of Bunker Hill.  She earned her bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University (1992).   The Somani award was established in memory of Satu M. Somani, Ph.D., who was an SIU professor of pharmacology and toxicology from 1974 until his death in 2002.

The Hemal Vakharia Memorial Award was presented to Stephen R. Johnson, a senior graduate student in SIU’s pharmacology department, for his work in toxinology.  Johnson is the son of James R. and Gertrude A. Johnson of Springfield.  The award is presented to a student who has provided significant assistance to faculty research.  It was established in memory of Hemal Vakharia, a summer help student who died in an automobile accident in 1992.

SIU School of Medicine’s mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health needs through education, patient care, research and community service.  SIU’s research efforts cover a wide range of basic and clinical sciences.  Currently more than 230 research projects funded by outside organizations, primarily federal agencies, are underway in 100-plus laboratories.  For information, call SIU’s main number, 217-545-8000, or go online,

- 30 -


thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155