Speaker Profiles

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Shelin AdamShelin Adam, BSC MSc, Research Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Shelin Adam trained as a genetic counsellor at McGill University and has spent most of her career working in research. Her work has focused on the application of new genetic and genomic technologies. Her early work was with predictive testing for Huntington’s Disease, then chromosomal microarray, and most recently genome-wide sequencing. She was involved in the establishment of guidelines for clinical sequencing for Canadian healthcare professionals. Shelin is interested in understanding the best ways to provide education, decision support and genetic counselling to families being offered genomic sequencing, as well as how to help clinicians better understand genomic testing and its implications.

Shelin has an on-going interest in the development and testing of DECIDE, an online, interactive educational tool and decision-aid designed to improve families’ understanding of issues surrounding genome-wide sequencing, and help support their choices. She has been involved with research studies like CAUSES (Clinical Assessment of the Utility of Sequencing and Evaluation as a Service) clinic, which offered trio-based genomic sequencing to 500 patients with previously undiagnosed, but suspected to be genetic conditions, and now GenCOUNSEL which among other aims will examine the integration of genetic counsellors into different fields of practice.

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Sienna AguilarSienna Aguilar, Genetic Counsellor, Invitae

Sienna is a licensed, board-certified genetic counselor, specializing in Proactive genetic testing. Prior to joining Invitae in 2015, she was a laboratory genetic counselor at GeneDx, where she worked with the cardiovascular genetic team. Sienna is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and NSGC’s Precision Medicine special interest group. She holds a Master of Science in genetic counseling from Wayne State University.

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Angela BedardAngela Bedard, MS, Genetic Counsellor, BC Cancer

Angela Bedard is a genetic counsellor with the BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program. Previously she worked as a genetic counsellor and clinical lecturer at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She developed an interest in research during her graduate training at the University of Cincinnati; her thesis work was ‘Career research interests and training of genetic counseling students.’ Since that time, she has also held other professional roles, including Director of an Infusion/Cancer Program in Alamosa, Colorado, and Program Leader with the BC Cancer’s Provincial Cancer Survivorship Program. She has appointments with the University of the Fraser Valley as an Adjunct Professor, and at the University of British Columbia as a Clinical Lecturer. She is actively involved in research supported by undergraduate students, current projects relate to universal screening for Lynch syndrome, exploring barriers and promotion for cascade carrier testing, and genetic counseling alternate service delivery models. She lives in Abbotsford, BC, with her husband and daughter.

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Alina BielakAlina Bielak, BSc, MSc, Genetic Counsellor

Alina Bielak graduated from the Masters of Genetic Counselling program at the University of Toronto in 2019. There she completed her student thesis project “The Landscape of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing in the Canadian Genetics Clinic”. Before beginning her training as a genetic counsellor, Alina graduated with a BSc from the University of Waterloo.

 

 

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Simina BogatanSimina Bogatan, BSc MSc, Genetic Counsellor, North York General Hospital

Simina Bogatan completed her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics at McMaster University in 2014. She then worked as a technician in the Molecular and Cytogenetics Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital for three years. Simina obtained her Master of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of Toronto, where she developed an online educational module to facilitate discussion about 22q11.2 deletion syndrome between parents and their children for her research project. This project was awarded the Jane Engelberg Memorial Fellowship Student Research Award by the National Society of Genetic Counselors in 2018. Simina is currently working as a prenatal genetic counsellor at North York General Hospital.

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Kennedy BorleKennedy Borle, BSc MSc, Research Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Kennedy is a research genetic counsellor working at the University of British Columbia on GenCOUNSEL, a large scale research study aiming to address the genetic counselling issues associated with the implementation of genome wide sequencing in Canada. Within GenCOUNSEL she is involved in conducting an environmental assessment to determine the unmet needs for genetic services among Canadians. Her other research interests include clinical outcomes, patient access to services, and increasing awareness about the field of genetic counselling.

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Sherri BurnettSherri Burnett, MS CGC, Genetic Counsellor, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre

Sherri Burnett has been a genetic counsellor in the Program of Genetics and Metabolism at Health Sciences Centre since 2009. In her current position Sherri works in a prenatal setting. She has a special interest in perinatal palliative care as well as reproductive genetic counselling. In 2009, she was cross-appointed to the University of Manitoba as a Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry & Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine. She was actively involved in the implementation of the Genetic Counselling Training Program at the University of Manitoba and currently supports the program through teaching and clinical supervision.

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Melanie CareMelanie Care, MSc, CCGC, Toronto General Hospital

Melanie Care, MSc, CCGC, obtained her Honours Biology degree from McMaster University and completed her Masters in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto. She spent her early career in the Genetics Program at North York General Hospital in Toronto, ON, where she had primary roles with the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic and the Ontario Maternal Serum Screening program. In 2007 Melanie joined the team at the Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine, a combined adult clinical genetics program of the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital. For the past three years she has split her time between the Inherited Arrhythmia Clinic and the Genome Diagnostics Laboratory at Toronto General Hospital.

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Courtney CookCourtney Cook, BSc, Department of Medical Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Courtney Cook, BSc, recently graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2019, completing a double major in Biology and English Literature. In her senior year, she carried out a directed studies project investigating the identity of a population of melanocytic cells that upon oncogenic activation resulted in a novel mouse model for leptomeningeal melanoma. She has been working as a Project Assistant for GenCOUNSEL, coordinating a follow up study for the Genomic Consultation Service that aimed to evaluate outcomes of genomic advice provided by a multidisciplinary team led by genetic counsellors. Courtney is a first year MSc Student in the Genetic Counselling program at the University of British Columbia.

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Taylor CostaTaylor Costa,, M.Sc., Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Taylor Costa is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia Masters Program in Genetic Counselling. He completed his undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics at Simon Fraser University. He is interested in innovative models of service delivery in genetic counselling, and expanding the role and scope of genetic counsellors into other areas.

 

 

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Amy CrowleyAmy Crowley, Genetic Counsellor, IWK Health Care Centre / MyGeneTeam

Amy Crowley received her Master’s in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1999. She has been practicing as a genetic counsellor at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia since that time. For the last ten years her primary area of clinical care at the IWK has been in cardiac genetics. Amy recently took on an additional clinical position at MyGeneTeam where she provides remote genetic counselling services in the areas of both cardiac and inherited cancers. In addition to her clinical activities, Amy is the professional practice lead of genetic counselling at the IWK. In this role she has advocated for novel service delivery models in genetics, with a particular interest in the promotion of the scope of practice and role of genetic counsellors in health care.

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Adeline CuggiaAdeline Cuggia, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, McGill University Health Centre

Adeline Cuggia’s interest in research began during her biotechnology Bachelors’ degree at Université de Sherbrooke with multiple internships in research laboratories. After acquiring experience in teaching and pedagogy, she combined these skills with her long standing passion for genetics and completed her Master’s in genetic counselling at Université de Montréal in 2014. From 2014 to 2015, she worked with rare disease patients and families as a genetic counsellor at the Quebec Coalition for Rare Diseases. She has been the study coordinator and genetic counsellor in charge of the Quebec Pancreas Cancer Study at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (MUHC) since 2015. Since 2018, she is also participating as the MUHC Site study coordinator for the both the COMPASS (EPPIC Program) and PanFAM-1 (Immunovia) studies.

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Rachelle DinchongRachelle Dinchong, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, University of Manitoba

Rachelle received her Honours Bachelor of Science degree with High Distinction from the University of Toronto and was one of three students to graduate from the the University of Manitoba’s inaugural Master of Science in Genetic Counselling program this past summer. Her graduate thesis research on newborn screening, under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Frosk, was recognized and financially supported by the University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship and the Canadian Institute of Health Research. Rachelle is currently working as a genetic counsellor with the Familial Oncology Program at Kingston General Hospital. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she hopes to become involved in translational research in the areas of precision medicine and gene therapy and welcomes opportunities for collaboration.

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Heather DouglasHeather Douglas, MSc MS CGC CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Scarborough Health Network

Heather Douglas is a certified genetic counsellor in Scarborough, Ontario at Scarborough Health Network (formerly Rouge Valley Health System). She sees prenatal, pediatric, cancer, cardiac and adult genetics patients. She received her Master’s in genetic counselling from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 after obtaining a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from Queen’s University in 2006. Heather is on the Scientific Planning Committee for the CAGC conference. She also has been involved with the CAGC in various other capacities including as a member of the Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing Working Group, a member of the Private Pay Committee, and she was a regional representative on the Board of Directors in 2012-2013. Heather has a number of special interests which include weaving grief counselling into her role as a genetic counsellor, striving toward cultural competence, and most especially finding opportunities to keep learning.

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Christele du SouichChristèle du Souich, Genetic Counsellor, Women’s Health Centre of BC

Christèle was born in Barcelona and subsequently moved to Montreal where she graduated from McGill University with a degree in Biology and Human Genetics before obtaining her Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling. She is certified through both the Canadian and American Boards of Genetic Counseling.

After graduation in 1995, Christèle worked as a clinical genetic counsellor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver, mainly in prenatal, paediatric and adult genetics settings; she was also appointed as a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC. In 2015 she became the principal genetic counsellor for the CAUSES project: a three year translational research initiative that performed genome wide sequencing in 500 paediatric patients with suspected genetic conditions. In 2016, Christèle was appointed as the principal genetic counsellor for the RAPIDOMICS project, which performed rapid whole exome sequencing in NICU patients at the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.

Throughout her career, Christèle has been very active in rare disease research publishing numerous original research papers and presenting her work at many national and international conferences. She is also an active member of the Scientific Program Committee of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors and retains her UBC appointment teaching and supervising Genetic Counseling students.

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Grace Uwaila EdiaeGrace Uwaila Ediae, HBSc, Research Assistant, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

Grace Ediae received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Ottawa in 2017 and is interested in pursuing a career in genetic counselling. She was a volunteer genetic counselling assistant for three years at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in the Genetics Department. During her time, she worked alongside clinical and lab genetic counsellors and completed a research project with members of the department to improve the FBN1 variant interpretation at CHEO. She is currently working as a research assistant for CARE for RARE research program. At CARE for RARE she is involved with research ethics approvals, project coordination, and research activities under the CARE for RARE research program.

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Alison ElliottAlison Elliott, PhD MS CGC, University of British Columbia

Alison Elliott is a PhD geneticist and board certified genetic counsellor, having obtained her undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston and her Master’s in Science in genetic counselling at the University of Cincinnati. Her doctoral and postdoctoral work was at the University of Manitoba on limb malformations. Her research interests include rare disease, skeletal disorders, health implementation science, genomics and genetic counselling. She has worked at McGill University, Cedars Sinai Hospital and was the Program Director of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics for the Provincial Health Authority in Winnipeg, where she established Canada’s most recent MSc training program in Genetic Counselling. She relocated to Vancouver in October 2014 and was the Project Lead for two genomic sequencing initiatives (CAUSES and RAPIDOMICS) and is the current Project Lead for a Genome Canada LSARP grant “GenCOUNSEL – Optimization of Genetic counselling with implementation of genome-wide sequencing.” Co-Leads for this project are Drs. Bartha Knoppers, Jehannine Austin and Larry Lynd. Alison is a Clinical Associate Professor in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and an Investigator at the BC Children’s and Women’s Health Research Institutes. In 2018, she was awarded the CAGC Professional Practice, Innovation and Advocacy Leadership national award.

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Greg FischerGreg Fischer, PhD, PreventionGenetics

Greg Fischer, PhD, joined PreventionGenetics in October 2016 as a Human Molecular Geneticist. His portfolio focuses on disease association testing via Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Fischer earned his BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2011 and his PhD in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016.

 

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Kayla FlamenbaumKayla Flamenbaum, MS CGC, Genetic Counsellor, Prenatal Diagnosis & Medical Genetics, Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women’s and Infant’s Health, Mount Sinai Hospital

Kayla Flamenbaum, MS, CGC received a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University in 2013. She spent the first few years of her career gaining experience in the areas of prenatal, cancer, adult and paediatric genetics while working at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Mackenzie Health. Since 2016, she has been pursuing her passion for reproductive genetics at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Prenatal Diagnosis and Medical Genetics department. From 2017 to 2018, Kayla also enjoyed the opportunity to work with patients/couples at Mount Sinai Fertility.

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Jill FurnivalJill Furnival, MSc CCGC, Regenerative Medicine Counsellor, Medcan

Kayla Flamenbaum, MS, CGC received a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University in 2013. She spent the first few years of her career gaining experience in the areas of prenatal, cancer, adult and paediatric genetics while working at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Mackenzie Health. Since 2016, she has been pursuing her passion for reproductive genetics at Mount Sinai Hospital in the Prenatal Diagnosis and Medical Genetics department. From 2017 to 2018, Kayla also enjoyed the opportunity to work with patients/couples at Mount Sinai Fertility.

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Kim GallKim Gall, MSc CGC LGC, Clinical Liaison, Blueprint Genetics

Kim Gall is an American Board Certified Genetic Counsellor with over 20 years of experience in various clinical and laboratory settings. She has worked as a a clinical genetic counsellor in the Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, ON, in the Provincial Medical Genetics Program at BC Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC and in the CHEO Regional Genetics Program at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, ON. Her experience as a laboratory genetic counsellor includes Newborn Screening Ontario at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, ON and Genetic Laboratory Services at Alberta Health Services in Calgary, AB.

Kim’s years of clinical and laboratory experience give her valuable insight into selecting the right test for the right patient at the right time. She is committed to providing pre- and post-test clinical support for geneticists, genetic counsellors and other health care professionals regarding all of the testing offered by Blueprint Genetics.

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Brittany GilliesBrittany Gillies, M.Sc., Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia

Brittany Gillies is a genetic counsellor at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in the Familial Cancer team. She is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia Masters Program in Genetic Counselling. She completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Life Sciences and a Masters degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Cancer and Development. She is passionate about professional development and hopes to continue participating in research throughout her career.

Taylor Costa is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia Masters Program in Genetic Counselling. He completed his undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics at Simon Fraser University. He is interested in innovative models of service delivery in genetic counselling, and expanding the role and scope of genetic counsellors into other areas.

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Geraldine GosseGéraldine Gosse, MSc CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Montreal Clinical Research Institute

Géraldine Gosse has been a genetic counsellor at the rare disease adult clinic of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) since January 2017. She worked at the CHUM after graduating from a Master in Genetic Counselling at the University of Montreal in 2016. She also completed a Master in Molecular Biology at the University of Montreal in 2014, with a research training at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) focusing on the genetics of leukemia.

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Barbara HamiltonBarbara Hamilton, Invitae

Barbara is an ABGC board-certified genetic counselor with expertise in cancer genetics. Prior to joining Invitae, Barbara gained both clinical and management experience as the supervising genetic counselor at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC), a large private medical oncology practice in Colorado. In this role, she provided genetic counseling to patients at risk for hereditary cancer and hematological conditions. Additionally, as the first genetic counseling supervisor at RMCC, Barbara developed a clinical genetics business model to increase patient access to genetic counseling services through process improvements, clinician education, and community engagement. Barbara holds a Master of Science in genetic counseling and a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Cynthia HandfordCynthia Handford, MSc CGC CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Cynthia Handford is a certified and licensed genetic counsellor. She graduated from the University of British Columbia Genetic Counselling Program in 2007. Since then, her career has been through a few transitions. She started her career as a clinical genetic counsellor in Edmonton, where she worked until 2016 when she moved to the Bay area to start a position with Color Genomics. At Color, Cynthia provided telephone genetic counseling for clients, customer support for ordering providers, and had the opportunity assist with a variety of internal processes and projects. She recently returned to clinical practice, joining the team at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in October 2018. Cynthia’s clinical focus is in hereditary cancer and she is passionate about exploring new models of genetic counseling that can help meet rising demands for genetic testing.

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Ashleigh HansenAshleigh Hansen, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, University of British Columbia (Island Medical Program)

Ashleigh Hansen obtained her BSc in Microbiology at the University of Victoria. She has recently completed her MSc in Genetic Counselling as part of the inaugural class at the University of Manitoba. Ashleigh is a genetic counsellor in the Community Genetics Research Program based at the University of Victoria (UBC Island Medical Program). Her primary research interest focuses on increasing access to genetic counselling services for diverse and underrepresented populations.

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Jessica HartleyJessica Hartley, MS CGC, Program Director, MSc in Genetic Counselling, University of Manitoba

Jessica Hartley is the Program Director for the MSc in Genetic Counselling Program at the University of Manitoba. She is an assistant professor within the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences. Jessica received a Masters of Genetic Counselling from Northwestern University in 2008. She is a certified genetic counsellor with clinical experience in metabolism, newborn screening, cystic fibrosis and neurogenetics. Jessica has membership in the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Her research focuses on optimizing the access to quality genetic healthcare for a diverse population using inter-professional care and alternative service delivery models. In her current role she is responsible for curriculum development, advocacy, teaching and oversight of clinical rotations and thesis projects for students within the Manitoba Genetic Counselling Program.

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Taila HartleyTaila Hartley, MSc (Biochemistry), MSc (Genetic Counselling), Research Genetic Counsellor, Operations Director, Care4Rare Canada

Taila Hartley is a research genetic counsellor at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and a PhD candidate in Population Health at the University of Ottawa. She completed her Master’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counselling at the University of British Columbia. She is the Operations Director of Care4Rare Canada, a collaborative pan-Canadian research project configured to improve the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases. She was an active member of both CCMG working groups tasked with developing the Canadian position statement on the use of “genome-wide sequencing in clinical genetic diagnosis”.

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Julie HathawayJulie Hathaway, Clinical Liaison, Genetic Counsellor, Blueprint Genetics

Julie Hathaway received her Master’s of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of Toronto. She is American and Canadian Board Certified. Her genetic counselling career began in the Maritime Medical Genetics Service in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she was first introduced to cardiac genetics. After moving to Vancouver, British Columbia, Julie played an important role in establishing the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program, a multidisciplinary cardiac genetics clinic. As coordinator, she oversaw program operations and was the principal liaison to outside health care providers. Julie is now a Clinical Liaison with Blueprint Genetics, providing internal and external clinical support and education. She remains actively involved in the cardiac genetics community.

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Douglas HobsonDouglas Hobson, MD, University of Manitoba

Douglas Everett Hobson BSc, MD, FRCP(C) completed his medical degree at the University of Manitoba in 1981. He went on to complete a neurology residency at the u of Manitoba, including an elective at Columbia University New York in the specialty of Movement Disorders. He has been practicing as a clinical Neurologist, Movement Disorder Specialist and Educator in Winnipeg since 1987. He is currently an Assistant Professor with the University of Manitoba, where he is the director of the Interdisciplinary, Movement Disorder Clinic, at Deer Lodge Center and the director of the Movement Disorder Program with the University of Manitoba. The clinic’s catchment area is the Province of Manitoba, eastern Saskatchewan, Western Ontario, and Nunavut. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Doctors Manitoba in 2009 an award given to one Manitoban physician annually for services rendered to patients and the community, and in 2019 was honored to receive the Educator of the Year Award from the Association or Residents and Interns of Manitoba (PARIM).

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Meaghan JonesMeaghan Jones, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba

Dr. Meaghan Jones uses a combination of human population epigenetic data and controlled exposure animal models to ask whether epigenetics might serve as a long-term cellular memory of prenatal and early life environments that goes on to affect lifelong health. In particular she is interested in epigenetic marks induced by inhaled pollutants, including tobacco and cannabis smoke, and how these marks might influence health outcomes including asthma and obesity throughout the lifespan. Dr. Jones also has an interest in aging and the phenomenon of epigenetic age. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and a Scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

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Jane JuusolaJane Juusola, GeneDx

Jane Juusola is an ABMGG-certified Clinical Molecular Geneticist and Director of the Clinical Genomics Program at GeneDx. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Microbiology and her PhD in Biomolecular Sciences from the University of Central Florida. Jane worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the FBI research lab in Quantico for 2 years, after which she joined the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory at the VCU Medical Center in a training capacity. While at VCU, Jane completed her clinical training in the Department of Pathology and Department of Human Genetics. Jane joined GeneDx in 2012 and her interests include disorders of the immune system, gene discovery, and developmental disorders.

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Angela KrutishAngela Krutish, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Angela Krutish obtained a BSc (Hons) in Genetics and MSc in Biochemistry and Medical Genetics from the University of Manitoba. This past summer, she completed her MSc in Genetic Counselling as part of the inaugural class at the University of Manitoba. Angela is a genetic counsellor at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Her primary research interest is genetics service delivery, especially integration of genetic assistants and further development of this position. Angela also hopes to become involved in research aimed to improve genetics service access for isolated communities.

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Sharon KuropatwaSharon Kuropatwa, B.A. M.A., Director-Community Area/Housing Support and Service Integration, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority/Department of Families

Sharon’s work over a 25 year career has focused on person-centred planning and community capacity building. Sharon was born and raised in the True North end of Winnipeg, Manitoba and believes in the power of people and families to identify and solve problems together. Hope is always on the table, and community development is the path that leads people to sit together at that table. Currently the Director for Housing, Supports and Service Integration for the WRHA, as well the Community Area Director of Downtown-Point Douglas, Sharon focuses on strengthening and integrating health, housing and social service responses to marginalized and vulnerable populations throughout the region. Sharon supports a dedicated leadership team to build partnerships that prioritize equity and capacity.

Sharon is the Chair of the Partnership Working group of the Health For All Coordinating Committee, the previous Chair of the Accreditation Canada Population Health Special Populations Standards review, the Chair of the Housing, Supports and Service Integration Inter-jurisdictional Operations Committee and a long standing member of the Joint Faculty Ethics Review Board of the University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the WRHA Sharon worked in the field of family violence in both the Academic and Provincial government sectors. Sharon has spoken at numerous conferences across Canada and The Unites States as well as authored a number of publications.

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Edward LeungEdward Leung, MD FRCPC, Section Head, Pediatric Neurology, University of Manitoba

Dr. Edward Leung is the section head of the Division of Pediatric Neurology in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at University of Manitoba. After graduating from medical school at University of Toronto, he completed paediatrics residency at University of Saskatchewan and neurology fellowship at Mayo Clinic. He completed a clinical research fellowship with Dr. Cheryl Greenberg in neuroimaging and neurometabolic diseases. He has special expertise in glutaric aciduria type I and hypophosphtasia. His clinical research primarily involves neuromuscular diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and smartphone EEGs in children with epilepsy in low-income countries.

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Nicole SY LiangNicole SY Liang, BSc, Research Assistant, University of British Columbia

Nicole obtained her Integrated Sciences degree at the University of British Columbia and is currently a genetic counselling student at the University of Toronto. Before making the move to Toronto, she worked extensively as a research assistant in the Friedman Lab on a number of different studies including CAUSES, IMAGINE and GenCOUNSEL. She was part of the team which conducted the CAUSES Follow-Up study and interviewed 32 families who have been through trio genome-wide sequencing. Nicole has a special interest in the psychosocial impact of variant reclassification and addressing ethnocultural barriers in genetic counselling.

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Billie LianoglouBillie Lianoglou, LCGC, Genetic Counselor, University of California, San Francisco

Billie Lianoglou, LCGC is a genetic counselor with the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center. Lianoglou splits her time between the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center clinical responsibilities and supporting the research of Dr. Mary Norton and Dr. Tippi Mackenzie at the UCSF Center for Maternal-Fetal Precision Medicine. She is currently working on patient outreach, education and recruitment for a project led by fetal surgeon Dr. MacKenzie to perform in utero stem cell transplantation in fetuses affected by alpha thalassemia major. Ms. Lianoglou earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on public health and policy from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree in genetic counseling from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

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Zoe LohnZoe Lohn, MSc CGC CCGC, Genetic Counsellor, BC Cancer Agency Hereditary Cancer Program

Zoe Lohn is a clinical genetic counsellor with the BC Cancer Hereditary Cancer Program. Prior to this, Zoe worked at the BC Prenatal Genetic Screening Program and the Women’s Health Research Institute. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Queen’s University, a Master of Science in Medical Genetics from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia. Zoe has authored several peer-reviewed publications exploring the field of genetic counselling on various topics including incidental findings and novel service delivery models. Current interests include analyzing contemporary service delivery models in the context of hereditary cancer genetic counselling services, balancing the needs of the patient, provider and healthcare system. She is a lecturer and clinical supervisor for the genetic counselling students at the University of British Columbia. Zoe lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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Sandra MarlesSandra Marles, MD MSc FRCPC FCCMG, Clinical Geneticist, University of Manitoba

Dr. Sandra Marles is a Clinical Geneticist in the Shared Health Program of Genetics and Metabolism at the University of Manitoba. She is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Child Health and Biochemistry and Medical Genetics. She has been working in the FASD field since 1993 and is one of the geneticists who has assessed patients at the Manitoba FASD Centre since its inception. She is also interested in dysmorphology and assessing children with developmental delay and/or autism spectrum disorder. She teaches Genetics and Pediatrics at the undergraduate and postgraduate level at the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

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Jeanna McCuaigJeanna McCuaig, Genetic Counsellor, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Jeanna McCuaig is a genetic counsellor working in both clinical and research settings at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She received her MSc degree in genetic counselling from the University of Toronto and is currently enrolled in the Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing’s PhD program at the University of Toronto. Her clinical and research interests are in improving access to genetic testing and streamlining genetic counselling processes for hereditary cancer. Jeanna is also an active member of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors as Practice Lead for a Cancer Community of Practice and liaison for a National BRCA Collaborative aimed at improving genetic testing in ovarian cancer patients.

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Oana MorarOana Morar, Genetic Counsellor, Credit Valley Hospital

Oana Morar, MSc, CCGC, CGC obtained her Honours Human Biology degree from University of Toronto and completed her Masters in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto in 2010. She has worked at a number of clinics including the Mount Sinai Hospital Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic and the Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine, a combined adult clinical genetics program of the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital. She worked as a clinical science associated for Fabry Disease at Sanofi Genzyme in 2018. She currently works at Credit Valley Hospital with a focus on Ontario Breast Screening Program assessments.

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Jennifer NukJennifer Nuk, MSc CCGC CGC, Clinical Coordinator/Genetic Counsellor, BC Cancer Hereditary Cancer Program

Jennifer Nuk is a genetic counsellor and the provincial clinical coordinator with BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Medical Genetics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria and a Master of Science in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia. Current interests include integrating the evolving landscape of hereditary cancer genetic testing in to contemporary service delivery models, enhancing public and health care provider education and increasing access to inclusive genetic services for underserved and diverse populations.

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Tracey OhTracey Oh, MS, Co-Director Master of Genetic Counselling Program, Clinical Training, University of British Columbia

Tracey became Program Co-Director for the UBC Master of Genetic Counselling Program (GCP) in 2012, with primary responsibility for clinical training. Prior to that, Tracey has been involved with the GCP since 2004 with roles including Clinical Supervisor, Lecturer, Selection Committee, and Accreditation Committee chair. Tracey has supervised over 30 genetic counselling students in clinical rotations and/or directed studies research projects.

A graduate of the Sarah Lawrence Masters Program in Human Genetics in 2002, Tracey’s clinical experience covers a broad range of practice including clinical research, prenatal, pediatric, and general genetic counselling. She has been a genetic counsellor in the Provincial Medical Genetics Program since 2002.

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Matthew OsmondMatthew Osmond, MSc, Research Coordinator, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

Matthew Osmond is the Research Coordinator for Care4Rare Canada at the Children’s Hospital for Eastern Ontario. He first graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Science Biology, later graduated from McGill University in 2016 with a Master of Science in Human Genetics, and most recently completed a Masters in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto. His current interests include multi-omic approaches to analyzing rare diseases, advances in DNA sequencing technologies, and the impact of raw genomic data on clinical practice.

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Karen PanabakerKaren Panabaker, MSc CGC CCGC, Senior Genetic Counsellor, London Health Sciences Centre

Karen received her BSc in Genetics at the University of Manitoba, and pursued post-graduate training at the University of British Columbia where she completed a Masters degree in Medical Genetics. Next, she attended McGill University where she earned her Masters degree in Genetic Counselling. Karen began her career in Vancouver, and played a lead role in developing the BC Provincial Hereditary Cancer Program at the BC Cancer Agency. In 2006 she moved to London, Ontario where she is currently the Senior Genetic Counsellor in the Medical Genetics Program at London Health Sciences Centre. Karen continues to practice as a cancer genetic counsellor, and has also been an active member of various Ontario Ministry of Health and Cancer Care Ontario committees regarding the provision of cancer genetic services in Ontario.

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Carly PouchetCarly Pouchet, MS, Dynacare

I graduated from the MS in Genetic Counseling at Brandeis University in 2008.

From 2008-2014 I worked at the Jewish General Hospital in both cancer genetics and prenatal diagnosis.

In 2013 I began working for Dynacare as a genetic counsellor to support the Harmony Prenatal Test. I continue to work at Dynacare as the team lead for the genetic counsellors. I am also involved in the MSc in Genetic Counselling program at McGill, and I deliver the prenatal screening lecture to the students every year.

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Lara ReichmanLara Reichman, MSc CCGC CGC, Genetic Counsellor, McGill University Health Centre; RI-MUHC

Lara Reichman completed her MSc in genetic counselling at McGill University. Since then, she has had the privilege of working in a variety of specialties at CHEO, North York General, the Jewish General, and the University of California-San Francisco. Currently, she practices in both pediatric and adult cancer genetics and works as a research genetic counsellor at the McGill University Health Centre, focusing on surveillance in cancer predisposition syndromes. She is an American and Canadian board certified genetic counsellor. She is also involved in numerous CAGC committees and student research projects.

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Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg, M.D. C.M., Program in Genetics and Metabolism, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg obtained her M.D., C.M. from McGill University in Montreal in 1974. At McGill, her mentors introduced her to the emerging fields of Medical and Biochemical Genetics. She subsequently became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Pediatrics in 1979 and in Medical Genetics in 1996. She has been a Fellow of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists since 1982. Since 1979 to the present she has been a clinical and metabolic geneticist in the Program in Genetics and Metabolism, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and she is a clinician scientist in the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba in Winnipeg. An academic clinician, she has focused her research on “Rare Diseases” and the identification of the molecular basis for specific rare genetic disorders over-represented in Manitoba’s unique populations. Subsequently, in direct collaboration with community leaders, she and her colleagues in multiple disciplines have translated research discoveries into relevant patient care programs.

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Alan RopeAlan Rope, MD, Clinical Geneticist, Genome Medical

I am originally from Cincinnati Ohio. All of my education and formal training occurred within this state, as well as a lot of my informal training and education, which was equally as valuable. Following my residency at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center in 2003, I joined The Division of Medical Genetics at The University of Utah, where I served for 10 years, eventually rising to the rank of Associate Professor. I was heavily involved in patient care, teaching, graduate training and clinical research. I left academia to join Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon in 2013 and 5 years later joined a nationwide telemedicine genetics practice at Genome Medical.

I have been so very lucky to have great mentors in my life and I do my best to honour them by being open-minded, committed and passionate about my career. I have also been so very lucky to have 3 incredible kids and the best friends anyone could hope for.

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Andrea ShugarAndrea Shugar, MS CGC, Genetic Counsellor, The Hospital for Sick Children

Andrea Shugar, MS, CGC, received her Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences and Genetic Counselling from the University of Cincinnati in 1992. She is a past president of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors, and served on the first Canadian Certification Board for genetic counsellors. Andrea is a genetic counsellor at the Hospital for Sick Children in 2003 and provides genetic counselling to pediatric patients and their families. She holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. As a Project Investigator appointment in the SickKids Research Institute, her research focuses on 2 particular conditions: Neurofibromatosis and 22q11 Deletion syndrome. Andrea teaches and clinically supervises genetic counselling graduate students in the U of T M.Sc. Genetic Counselling Program. She has been actively involved at the national and provincial level in professional governance and practice.

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Allison SluytersAllison Sluyters, MSc CCGC CGC, Genetic Services Consultant, Blueprint Genetics

I am a Canadian and American board-certified Genetic Counsellor with 10+ years of clinical experience mainly in prenatal, cancer and general genetics. After a decade in the clinic, I started working for our local laboratory and the out of province funding approval body (GRC) for Alberta. I am always looking for new opportunities to grow and develop. For that reason, my family and I recently spent a year in Auckland, New Zealand where I worked as the Regional Coordinator for the New Zealand Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry. Upon our return, I continued to look for new opportunities and was excited when I had the chance to join the Blueprint Genetics team as a Genetics Services Consultant in January 2019. Blueprint Genetics commitment to quality is refreshing and I enjoy working with clinicians to ensure their patients have access to the most reliable results.

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Simone StenekesSimone Stenekes, RN MN CHPCN(C), Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Palliative Care Team – Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Palliative Care Program

Simone is the Clinical Nurse Specialist with the Pediatric Palliative Care Team of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Palliative Care Program and also works with the Canadian Virtual Hospice. She has been working in palliative care for over 19 years, with many of those years focused in pediatric palliative care, primarily in Winnipeg. But she has also spent some brief time on both coasts working in Halifax and Vancouver. In her current role Simone acts as a resource to health care teams across the province, and is engaged in pediatric palliative care clinical practice, research, project work and teaching. Simone has a passion for perinatal palliative care and finds supporting families at home as a particularly rewarding part of her work.

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Ginette TalbotGinette Talbot, MSc CGC, Genetic Counsellor, HSC Winnipeg, Shared Health

Ginette Talbot is a genetic counselled with Shared Health at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. She graduated from the McGill Genetic Counselling Program in 2012. She has been working as a genetic counsellor in Winnipeg since that time, in the areas of Prenatal Diagnosis, Adult General Genetics as well as an off-site Movement Disorder Clinic. She is also involved as a lecturer and preceptor for the Genetic Counselling Program at University of Manitoba. Other interests include Telemedicine for health access to remote patients, as well the future of the genetic counselling profession.

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Barbara Triggs-RaineBarbara Triggs-Raine, PhD, Professor, University of Manitoba

Dr. Triggs-Raine is presently Head and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics and cross-appointed in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba. She is also Scientific Director of the University of Manitoba Central Animal Core Facilities for the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and a member of GlycoNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence in carbohydrate research.

Dr. Triggs-Raine received her Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, and completed her post-doctoral training in the molecular basis of human genetic disease in the lab of Dr. Roy Gravel at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the McGill University-Montreal Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Her research program focuses on the molecular basis of human disease and she has made contributed to this field for almost 30 years.Her experience with CRISPR/Cas9 stems from her role as Director of the transgenic service at the University of Manitoba.

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Kalene van EngelenKalene van Engelen, MSc, Genetic Counsellor, University Health Network

Kalene van Engelen is a genetic counsellor working at The Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine in adult genetics. She also sees patients in the Gaucher, Fabry and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome multi-disciplinary clinics. Kalene graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a degree in Medical Sciences. She then worked for a year in clinical research focused in pediatric cancer genetics before completing her Masters degree in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto. Kalene has a special interest in surveillance for hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes and is currently part of the multi-disciplinary team working on the McGill Pediatric OncoGenetic Guidelines (MIPOGG) application.

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Rachel VannesteRachel Vanneste, MSc CCGC CGC, Laboratory & Clinical Genetic Counsellor, Saskatchewan Health Authority

Rachel Vanneste completed her Masters of Science in Genetic Counselling from McGill University in 2008 and obtained both her CCGC and CGC in 2009. After working as a prenatal GC in Montreal for seven years, she returned home to Saskatoon to work remotely for PreventionGenetics, with roles on their sales and laboratory genetic counselling teams. In 2018, she joined the Saskatchewan Health Authority as the province’s first lab GC. Additionally, she maintains a clinical practice and is involved in student education, including teaching students in high school, med school and genetic counselling programs.

Rachel has volunteered with the CAGC for over a decade and is completing her term as treasurer on the board of directors. She is a co-creator of www.lexigene.com and previously volunteered with the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.

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Chelsea VowelChelsea Vowel, BEd LLB, University of Alberta, Faculty of Native Studies

Chelsea Vowel is Métis from manitow-sâkahikan (Lac Ste. Anne) Alberta, currently residing in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). Mother to six girls, she has a BEd and LLB, and is currently a graduate student and Cree instructor at the Faculty of Native studies at the University of Alberta.

Chelsea is a public intellectual, writer, and educator whose work intersects language, gender, Métis self-determination, and resurgence. She is cohost of Indigenous feminist sci-fi podcast Métis in Space, author of Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada, and makes legendary bannock.

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Ma'n H. ZawatiMa’n H. Zawati, LL.B. LL.M. Ph.D. (D.C.L.), Executive Director, Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University

Ma’n H. Zawati (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. (DCL)) is the Executive Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University. He is also an Associate Member of McGill’s Biomedical Ethics Unit. His research concentrates on the legal, ethical and policy dimensions of health research and clinical care, with a special focus on biobanking, data sharing, professional liability, and the use of novel technologies (e.g. mhealth apps, WGS, WES) in both the clinical and research settings. Dr. Zawati is funded by CIHR, Genome Canada, and Genome Quebec. His work is interdisciplinary, drawing together perspectives from law, ethics, bioinformatics, genomics, and policy. He’s also a frequent presenter on a variety of the most critical and topical issues in healthcare and the biosciences. He has appeared at 100+ international conferences, symposia, meetings, and has shared his expertise with universities, research ethics boards and law firms. Dr. Zawati has published 13 book chapters and 45+ peer reviewed articles in leading publications such as Nature Reviews Genetics, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, the Journal of Medical Genetics, and the McGill Journal of Law and Health. In 2015, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship (stay at Oxford University) and was named a Royal Society of Canada Delegate for the IAP Young Scientists of the Year international symposium. In 2014, the Young Bar Association of Montreal named him as one of its Lawyers of the Year.

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