2020 Pharmacology Memorial Awards - And the winners are.....

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Pharmacology Memorial Awards Ceremony 2020

May 19, 2020

Dr. Satu Somani was one of the three original faculty members of the SIU School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and a dedicated scientist/educator.  He loved teaching, often asking for more time to teach additional material he felt was important to the student’s medical education.  Dr. Somani passed in 2002, and to honor his memory, a fund was established to provide a monetary award annually to an outstanding student of Medical Pharmacology.  The ten students who achieved the top scores on the Year 2 Pharmacology exam compete for the award by writing a report that critically evaluates an advertisement for a prescription drug. The 2020 award recipients are Bailey Flamm who wrote a critical evaluation of a newly approved drug to treat a form of depression, Vraylar’s (cariprazine) and Roberta Koeppen who wrote a critical evaluation of the drug Myrbetriq (mirabegron) used for urinary problems.  Both Ms. Flamm and Ms. Koeppen’s names will be added to the Somani Award plaque outside the departmental office.

In 1996, the Barbara L Armour Memorial Award was created to commemorate an outstanding senior researcher in Dr. Donald Caspary's laboratory who passed in 1995.  In 2019, the award was renamed to add the name of Marcus Randall, who passed unexpectedly in 2019 after a distinguished 30 year career mostly in the lab of Dr. Carl Faingold. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to SIU School of Medicine research efforts by employees who serve in research positions.  This year’s recipient is Luyi Zhou, PhD.  She was nominated by Dr. Brandon Cox who stated “Luyi’s excellent research skills and leadership has not only allowed my lab to continue to produce high quality research, but her recent work is the foundation of new research grants we are applying for.”  Dr. Zhou’s name will be inscribed on a plaque that hangs on the wall of honor outside the departmental office. 

Since 1994, the Department of Pharmacology has honored a student with the Hemal Vakharia Memorial Award.  This award is given in memory of Hemal Vakharia, a summer high school student who died in an automobile accident in 1992.  The award recognizes the contributions of outstanding high school, undergraduate and graduate students to research efforts at the School of Medicine.  The 2020 recipient is Caleigh Findley.  Caleigh is a third year graduate student in the Pharmacology & Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.  Dr. Erin Hascup nominated Caleigh who stated “she is an eager, developing scientist with a high level of competency, determination, and evolving set of skill sets that combined will support her in her pursuit of a successful career as an independent scientist and editor”.  She further stated “due to her actions, it has become clear that Ms. Findley has the skills, drive and work ethic necessary to be a productive research scientist and has contributed greatly to advance our research”.  Ms. Findley’s name will be inscribed on the Hemal Memorial Award plaque that hangs on the wall of honor outside the departmental office.

The annual Pharmacology Memorial Awards Ceremony, normally held in the Pearson Museum the Thursday preceding the SIU-SOM commencement, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Though we were not able to physically attend, faculty, staff, students, family and friends congratulate this year’s winners.

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