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Former NIMH Scientist Gillin Mourned
Dr. J. Christian Gillin, former researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, renowned sleep specialist and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Health System, died of esophageal cancer on Sept. 13. He was 65. Gillin turned even this personal misfortune into a positive opportunity, lecturing to medical students at UCSD on the subject of death and dying and sharing his experiences and insights.
He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude, earned his M.D. at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and completed psychiatric training at Stanford University Medical Center.
Gillin's contributions to psychiatric research are reflected in over 500 scientific publications and one book. He was the founding editor-in-chief of Neuropsychopharmacology, and served on the editorial boards of nine journals. He served as U.S. Naval Reserve captain. In 2001, he received the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sleep Research Society's Distinguished Scientist Award. The society called attention not only to his original scientific contributions, but also to the great accomplishment of the number of students he trained and the next generation of sleep researchers who can trace their scientific roots back to him.
Gillin had an unquenchable scientific curiosity coupled with a fundamental dignity, humanity and positive approach to life. He enjoyed and inspired people, collaborated with everyone and worked across many disciplines to help ill individuals. Three years ago, after his illness was diagnosed, UCSD hosted a Festschrift to recognize Gillin's impact on the fields of sleep, mood disorders and chronobiology. The event was attended by nearly 200 scientists from the U.S. and around the world, attesting to his scholarship, international leadership and lasting friendships.
Gillin is survived by his wife, Dr. Frances Gillin, a UCSD professor of pathology and former NIH researcher, and their children, Peter Daniel Gillin and John Lorin Gillin.
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