OMAHA – At its April meeting, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the naming of the Warren G. Sanger Conference Center, to be located in the new home of the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, which is scheduled to open in 2021.
This naming, on behalf of the late Warren Sanger, Ph.D., formerly of Ashland, honors his commitment to educating future generations, along with his vigorous pursuit of cutting-edge discovery through research and collaborative efforts and his status as a pioneer in human genetics.
The Board of Regents item, signed by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said that with the naming of the area, “the Board of Regents honors the legacy and work of Sanger and Ruth and Bill Scott’s generous support to the University of Nebraska and UNMC.”
The Scotts are also former residents of Ashland.
“Dr. Sanger’s impact on the Munroe-Meyer Institute, UNMC and the state of Nebraska was profound,” Gold said. “The results of his work also influenced geneticists and the community they serve throughout the nation and the world. We are pleased to honor him, and thankful to the tremendous dedication and vision of our supporters, including Bill and Ruth Scott, who made the future MMI and this naming possible.”
“With this naming, we are simultaneously honoring a visionary giant and celebrating our rich MMI legacy,” said Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., director of MMI. “Warren was not only an amazing leader, but also a wonderful human being who enriched the lives of all around him.”
Sanger, who died in 2015 at the age of 69, was the founding director of the Human Genetics Laboratory and director of clinical genetics at MMI. He also was a professor in the departments of pediatrics and pathology and microbiology at UNMC, as well as a founding Fellow of the American Board of Medical Genetics and author or co-author of almost 300 peer-reviewed publications.
“Perhaps above all, Dr. Sanger was a visionary and a collaborator,” said Jennifer Sanmann, Ph.D., director of the Human Genetics Lab. “It is remarkable to create a space in his honor where future generations can work and dream together on behalf of the community that MMI serves.”
The Board of Regents resolution read:
“Dr. Sanger was instrumental in meeting and developing relationships with the medical community, as well as providers, students and the families he served. His patient reach was region wide, but his contributions to the field of genetics are felt internationally.”
Household names at UNMC, the Scotts have been instrumental in transforming the UNMC landscape by financially supporting the construction and/or renovation of nearly every building on the academic campus, including those encircling the Ruth and Bill Scott Student Plaza.
Sanger grew up in Franklin and attended a small country school before attending Franklin High School, where he played football and baseball. He attended Kearney State College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned his masters degree in 1969 and his Ph.D. in 1974 in concert with the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He served in the military as a counter-intelligence agent and biology instructor.
In addition to being a professor of pediatrics at the Munroe-Meyer Institute and professor of pathology at UNMC, he served as a cytogenetics advisor for several organizations. The director of the Human Genetics Laboratory (Cytogenetics and Molecular Cytogenetics Laboratories) and director of clinical genetics at the Munroe-Meyer Institute of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, he was also a founding fellow of the American Board of Medical Genetics. He was board certified as a clinical cytogeneticist and medical geneticist by the American College of Medical Genetics and the American Medical Association. He was particularly interested in the areas of cancer genetics, genetic causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities, prenatal diagnosis and prenatal care.