The home of genetic sequencing

05 March 2015
By Anita Sedgewick

Fred Sanger, the father of DNA sequencing. Credit: Genome Research Limited

Fred Sanger, the father of DNA sequencing.
Credit: Genome Research Limited

This weekend a blue plaque will be unveiled to honour the scientist who gave his name to the Sanger Institute. Fred Sanger won the Nobel Prize not once, but twice – in 1958 for his work on the structure of proteins and in 1980 for his work on DNA.

The plaque is being unveiled at 11am on Saturday 7th March, at 252 Hills Road in Cambridge, the Sanger family home where Fred lived when he won both Nobel prizes. His children recall it as his place of rest and retreat, where he returned to from the laboratory for his lunch or evening meal, and where he often continued to work in the evening. Professor Julian Parkhill from the Sanger Institute will be speaking at the ceremony, along with Fred’s son, Robin Sanger.

The plaque is one of ten being installed across the UK by the Society of Biology, as part of its Biology: Changing the World project. This project is honouring the eminent and sometimes unsung heroes of biology.

On Saturday 7th March a plaque celebrating Fred Sanger will be unveiled at his former home in Cambridge. Credit: Society of Biology

On Saturday 7th March a plaque celebrating Fred Sanger will be unveiled at his former home in Cambridge.
Credit: Society of Biology

From the man who established the Natural History Museum to the woman who increased our understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, and the team who worked on the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell – Dolly the sheep –the plaques aim to give some of the leading biologists from the past the recognition they deserve.

As part of the project, a website has been developed to celebrate the famous and not-so-famous biologists of past and current times, along with links to many of the plaques and statues that commemorate them. A free app is also available to download in the Apple and Android stores.

The project is also hoping to inspire the biologists of the future. Scientists, students and teachers have been interviewed about who first inspired them with a passion for biology. Teaching resources have been developed that are aimed at 7-11 year olds, but the website and app can be used with students of all ages.

Anita Sedgewick is a Project Manager at the Society of Biology. She leads the initiative ‘Biology: Changing the World’, which aims to honour biologists who have made a significant contribution to the field.

Related Links: