Ribbon cutting celebrates partnership
Speakers praised a unique partnership between athletics and research at UNL during a recent ribbon cutting celebration for the East Stadium expansion.
Representatives of the state, city, Big Ten Conference and its Committee on Institutional Cooperation joined university officials, donors and supporters for the Aug. 22 celebration of a major addition to Memorial Stadium’s east side. The addition includes more than 50,000 square feet of space for a collaboration between athletics and research.
In addition to boosting seating capacity to more than 91,000, the East Stadium expansion houses UNL’s Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior on the south end and the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab on the north end. A bridge connecting the facilities enables close collaboration on research related to brain function, head injury and human performance, with applications for collegiate athletics and broader society.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst, Athletic Director Emeritus Tom Osborne, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken and NU Regent Tim Clare led the celebration.
“This is a celebration of an uncommonly strong partnership between athletics and academics,” Perlman said. “The new research facilities housed within East Stadium represent a point of strength few universities can claim: a true collaborative partnership between academics and athletics.”
The multidisciplinary Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, led by Dennis Molfese, Mildred Francis Thompson Professor of Psychology, deepens UNL’s research capacity. It includes state-of-the-art brain imaging equipment that will be available to faculty in a range of disciplines interested in studying how brain functioning affects human behavior. Concussion research is a cornerstone of the center’s work.
The Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab, led by rehabilitation physical therapist Judith Burnfield, focuses on enhancing student-athletes’ performance, safety, health and well-being. NAPL unites researchers from diverse clinical and scientific backgrounds with industry partners and academic colleagues from across the nation.
Data sharing between the groups could lead to broader knowledge about how the brain functions and processes information before and after concussions, which could improve treatment for other head injuries.
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