An endowed chair that was created at the University of California, San Diego to honor NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau has been awarded to a scientist whose work is important to understanding the kind of brain damage the linebacker suffered.
The university has given the chair to Yishi Jin, a prize winning neurobiologist who explores the nervous system and how it can regenerate, to different degrees, after traumatic brain injuries.
Seau, who played for the San Diego Chargers for 13 years, died of a self-inflicted gunshot in Oceanside in 2012. It was later learned that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative disease linked to blows to the head.
The Junior Seau Foundation partnered with UC San Diego to raise $1 million for an endowed chair in traumatic brain injury, a position that will provide financial support to the chair holder.
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Jin is chair of the section on neurobiology at UC San Diego, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the highest honors in biomedical research.
"I am honored by this award and particularly grateful for the recognition of my work on the fundamental understanding of the genetic basis of cellular response to traumatic injury," Jin said in a statement.