The appointment is the culmination of a journey that began in 2005, when Dr. Sanmann joined MMI as a technologist and enrolled at UNMC as a graduate student.
"When I came on board, I was unsure about my future career path but could not be more grateful for the opportunities and people here at UNMC, particularly my friend and mentor, the late Dr. Warren Sanger, who introduced me to the field of clinical laboratory medicine," she said. "His encouragement and passion got me hooked on genetics, and the mission and people at MMI have kept me energized ever since."
With genetic testing advancing at a remarkable pace, it is an exciting time for the lab, Dr. Sanmann said.
"The number of patients whose care we can positively affect through testing is growing exponentially," she said. "It was the impact on patients' lives that drew me into the field of clinical laboratory medicine, and it is this impact that keeps me focused on excellence. However, for me, the well-known saying 'there's no place like Nebraska' really rings true. I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to do this work in a place where I truly feel at home alongside a remarkable laboratory team."
In announcing her appointment, MMI Director Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., said he had been impressed with Dr. Sanmann's knowledge, thoughtfulness, dedication, responsiveness to challenges, management skills, cheerful attitude and resilience as she served as the lab's interim director.
"I am convinced that she is the perfect person to lead our laboratory," he said. "With Jennifer at the helm, the best days of the Human Genetics Lab are yet to come."
Dr. Sanmann says leading the lab will require vision and versatility from herself and her staff.
"As with all other areas of healthcare, we are asked continually to deliver more for less in half the time," she said. "In addition, the field of genetics is evolving rapidly, and undoubtedly genetic testing will look very different in 5, 10, and 20 years. Success will require us to push beyond current constraints and past experiences and to readily transform our approach to clinical genetic testing."