Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Aspects 37-3 Campus News - SIU School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs


Campus News

SIUC President Dunn visits

Erin Hascup, PhD, greets SIU President Randy J. Dunn and his wife, Dr. Ronda Dunn, at a reception this spring at the Simmons Cancer Institute. Dean Kevin Dorsey, MD, PhD; Chancellor Rita Cheng and Major General (ret.) Randal E. Thomas, chairman of the Board of Trustees, also greeted employees.

Zoe Pramuk of Decatur was diagnosed with leukemia at age 5. After more than two years of treatment by SIU’s Dr. Gregory Brandt, she is now in remission from the cancer and leading a normal, healthy life of a 9-year-old.

On the drive home from Zoe’s treatments in Springfield, her mother, Jennifer Pramuk, observed the numerous specialty license plates. “I decided to help create a license plate to help cure childhood cancer," Pramuk said. “By working with a friend, we connected with State Sen. Andy Manar, and legislation was passed to create the ‘Curing Childhood Cancer plate.’" Proceeds from the sale of the plate will equally benefit the Children’s Oncology Group and St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

"Home" edition of SCOPE released

Carolyn Barrett speaks about her award-winning painting, “Hawg Farm” at the Vachel Lindsay Home reception.

The 2014 issue of SCOPE embraced a new concept. All submissions revolved around the central theme of “home.”
Produced each year by SIU medical students, this 21st edition of the Schoolʹs literary magazine contains 36 short stories, poems and artworks submitted by students, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends of the School.

View a gallery of photos from the SCOPE events.

It was unveiled at a reception on April 23 at the Schoolʹs Pearson Museum. A second reception was held at the historic Vachel Lindsay home in Springfield on Saturday, April 26. Prizes were awarded to the top three entries in the categories of poetry, prose and visual art. The winners, selected by the editorial staff, received small monetary awards. SCOPE Cover

In addition, two awards were bestowed as part of an exhibit of SCOPE visual art at the School. The Peopleʹs Choice Award and Deanʹs Choice Award were given to Carolyn Barrett from Jacksonville for her painting “Hawg Farm.” The Deanʹs Choice Award is a new award this year. All editions of SCOPE are available online at

aspects wins pair of APEX Awards

Aspects Vol. 36-4The School of Medicine’s alumni quarterly, aspects, received two APEX Awards for Publication Excellence in the 2014 competition, hosted by Communication Concepts. The autumn 2013 issue, Vol. 36-4 (Simmons Cancer Institute focus) won the award for print magazines, journals & APEX Winnertabloids. The article “Target: Tumors,” written by Karen Carlson, won the award for health and medical writing.


Durbin leads effort to increase funding

Sen. Dick Durbin

US Sen. Dick Durbin spoke at the medical school about the American Cures Act, which would increase federal funding for biomedical research. Pictured (from left) are John Charles, executive director for governmental and public affairs for SIU; US Sen. Dick Durbin; researchers Andy Wilber, PhD, and Kathy Campbell, PhD; SIU President Randy Dunn and Maj. Gen. (ret.) Randal Thomas, board chairman.

On Monday, June 9, a full-house of physicians and researchers in the South Auditorium at SIU School of Medicine eagerly listened as US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) gave details of his proposed legislation, the “American Cures Act.” If approved, the initiative would increase federal spending on medical research by $150 billion over ten years.

View a gallery of photos from US Sen. Dick Durbin's visit to SIU SOM.

As purse strings have tightened across the nation, medical research has taken a backseat in the list of priorities for government spending. Federal funding on research has declined by 22 percent between 2003 and 2012, according to Durbin.

The proposed funding would benefit the Department of Defense Health Program, the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the last ten years, grant proposal funding by the NIH has declined from 30 percent to 15 percent of approved projects. One goal of the American Cures Act is to reverse this downward trend of research grants funded by these agencies to institutions like SIU School of Medicine.

Durbin specifically mentioned the work of several SIU researchers. Among them were Andy Wilber, PhD, who is researching ways to reverse the cellular mutations that cause kidney cancer; Kathleen Campbell, PhD, who developed a patented drug to prevent noise-induced hearing loss; and Donald Torry, PhD, who is studying the causes of preeclampsia.

"In the last two centuries, US government support for scientific research has helped split the atom, defeat polio, conquer space, create the Internet, map the human genome and much more,” Durbin said. “No nation has ever made such a significant investment in science, and no nation’s scientists have ever done more to improve the quality of life on Earth. But America’s place as the world’s innovation leader is at risk as we are falling behind in our investment in biomedical research."

Researchers receive awards

Three research awards have been announced by the Department of Pharmacology at the School of Medicine.

The Satu M. Somani Memorial Award was presented to Trenton Grimm, MD, a 2014 graduate of SIU. The cash award is presented to a senior medical student for outstanding performance in pharmacology and therapeutics. The Somani award was established in memory of Satu M. Somani, PhD, who was an SIU professor of pharmacology and toxicology from 1974 until his death in 2002.

The Barbara L. Armour Memorial Award was presented to Kelly Sheehan, a researcher in the surgery department, who has been on the SIU staff since 2008. The award is presented to recognize excellence, dedication and contributions to scientific research. She received the award for her work in the laboratory of Dr. Leonard Rybak, PhD, professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery. The Armour Award was established in memory of Barbara Lawhorn Armour, a pharmacology researcher, who died in 1995.

The Hemal Vakharia Memorial Award was presented to Seth Martin, a research intern, for his work. The award is presented to a student who has provided outstanding contributions to research. Martin received the award for his work in the laboratory of Kathleen Campbell, PhD, SIU professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and director of the division’s audiology research. The award was established in memory of Hemal Vakharia, a summer help student who died in an automobile accident in 1992.

SIU’s research efforts cover a wide range of basic and clinical sciences. Currently more than 200 research projects funded by outside organizations, primarily federal agencies, are underway in 100-plus laboratories.

Awards & Honors

Marla BeattyMarla Beatty, administrator for orthopaedic surgery and plastic surgery, was appointed to the Council of Regents, the legislative body of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). The Council of Regents serves as the link between ACHE and members by approving governance and membership regulations as well as promoting ACHE programs, services and activities within their respective areas. Beatty is board certified in health-care management as an ACHE Fellow.

Jodie Carey


Jodie Carey, assistant director of regulatory compliance, received certification in Health Care Research Compliance (CHRC) by the Compliance Certification Board.

Dr. Griffen


David Griffen, MD, PhD, associate professor and chair of emergency medicine, was elected president of the Illinois College of Emergency Physicians.


Dr. Loret deMola


Ricardo Loret de Mola, MD, professor and chair of ob/gyn, was named chair of the Reproduction, Andrology and Gynecology Study Section of the National Institutes of health for 2014-16.

Dr. Nie


Daotai Nie, PhD, professor of MMICB, has been awarded a grant from the Penny Severns Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund of the Illinois Department of Public Health to study breast cancer metastasis. The total budget for the grant is $150,000.



AOA Honor Society members inducted

Eight new members have been elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Eta chapter at the School of Medicine. Newly elected students from the Class of 2014 are Anita Ahuja, MD; Samuel Hughes, MD; Kelli Kreher, MD; and Christian McNeely, MD.

Careyana Brenham, MD, Family and Community Medicine, was elected an honorary faculty member. Resident physicians from SIU training programs were Deborah Date, MD; Trinadha Pilla, MD; and Watcoun-Nchinda Pisoh, MD.

They will be joined by seven students from the Class of 2014 who were nominated to AOA in the fall: Christopher Betzle, MD; Cathy Feller, MD; Jacob Parke, MD; Joseph Raab, MD; Daniel Rosenkrans, MD; Kirk Thompson, MD; and Christopher Wakid, MD.

AOA Honor Society

from top in descending order:
Trinadha Pilla, Chris Betzle, Jake Parke, Dan Rosenkrans, Joe Raab, Wat Pisoh, Dan Sadowski, Kirk Thompson, Chris McNeely, Chris Wakid, Deborah, Anita Ahuja, Taylor Reid, Kelli Kreher, Cathy Feller, special guest Ben Sachs, Careyana Brenham and Andy Varney.

Four faculty receive honors

Bardo receives Public Service Award

Dr. Bardo

Harold R. Bardo, PhD, MEDPREP, received the 2014 Lindell W. Sturgis Memorial Public Service Award. The annual award, presented by the SIU Board of Trustees since 1980, recognizes SIUC employees for public service unrelated to their jobs. The award is named for Sturgis, a Metropolis native who served more than 30 years on the SIU Board. Dr. Bardo has demonstrated his commitment to young people and the community over the past half-century through his volunteerism and work with schools, athletics, health care organizations and academia. Dr. Bardo retired this spring. Read more about Dr. Bardo and his work with SIU’s MEDPREP program in aspects issue 35-4.


Campbell receives Scholar Excellence Award
Dr. Campbell


Kathleen Campbell, PhD, Surgery, was among those honored by SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng at the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards. Dr. Campbell is professor and director of audiology research in the Division of Otolaryngology. She received the Scholar Excellence Award, which honors those who have made outstanding contributions to their discipline.

Campbell earned SIU’s 2012 Inventor of the Year Award and is the first person in SIU history to move a drug she has patented at SIU into FDA-approved Phase 3 clinical trials.

Tischkau name Teach of the Year

Dr. TischkauShelley Tischkau, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology, was selected as Outstanding Teacher of the Year at SIU School of Medicine by the SIU Academy for Scholarship in Education.

The award is given annually to recognize an SIU faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional skill and commitment to teaching.

“Tischkau’s philosophy speaks of her passion for learning and her ability as a teacher to guide and assist students in their learning,” said Nicole Roberts, PhD, director for the Academy for Scholarship and Education. “She represents the ideal SIU outstanding teacher in her engagement and passion for teaching as well as in her contributions to the national discussion about teaching pharmacology."

Elble named Outstanding Scholar

Dr. ElbleDr. Rodger Elble, PhD, has been named the 2014 Outstanding Scholar at SIU School of Medicine. Dr. Elble is professor of adult neurology and director of the neurology residency program.

The Outstanding Scholar Award, presented annually to recognize excellence in research, is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to their discipline and have thus become widely recognized for their achievements by other scholars in the field.

Dr. Elble is an internationally recognized expert in movement disorders. He received the award based on his outstanding international reputation for achievement in research related to tremor.

"I’m struck by his career of incredible persistence studying tremor,” said Dean and Provost Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, PhD, who presented the award. Linda Toth, PhD, associate dean for research and faculty affairs, added, “Dr. Elble has been a beacon here in his dedication to strive for answers while maintaining a demanding clinical practice.” Dr. Elble, a former engineer, said, “I’m grateful to SIU for giving me the ability to achieve my dream of applying engineering to medicine.”

The mission of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the citizens of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health-care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.


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