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Pharmacology Memorial Awards Ceremony 2019

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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 2019 award recipient is Jonathan Day who wrote a critical evaluation of a newly approved anticancer drug, Ibrance (palbociclib).  Mr. Day’s name 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 Sandeep Sheth, PhD.  He was nominated by Dr. Vickram Ramkumar who stated “Dr. Sandeep Sheth is, without a doubt, an individual of extraordinary talent as a teacher and research scientist.”  He further stated “Individuals like him are vital to support future progress in medical-related education and research in the United States and different parts of the world.” Dr. Sheth’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 2019 recipient is Jesse Britz.  Jesse is a fourth year graduate student in the Pharmacology & Neuroscience Ph.D. Program.  Dr. Julio Copello nominated Jesse based on his excellence in academics and research, leadership in his role as student representative and community service in spearheading Brain Awareness Week activities. These qualities identify his promise for success in scientific research.  Mr. Britz’ name will be inscribed on a plaque that hangs on the wall of honor outside the departmental office.


The annual Pharmacology Memorial Awards Ceremony was held in the Pearson Museum on May 16, 2019.  Faculty, staff, students, family and friends were in attendance to congratulate this years winners.

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