Leadership and Faculty

Program Leadership

 

Amanda Bergner

Amanda Bergner, MS, CGC
Program Director

Course Director: Foundations of Human Development, The Human Body: Structure and Function, Biochemical Genetics, Community, Identity and Engagement, Therapeutic Genetic Counseling, Clinical Encounters, Process Group

I am an ABGC board-certified genetic counselor with 19 years of experience in clinical care, education, industry work, and research. I have a biopsychosocial orientation to my practice and believe strongly in the therapeutic potential of genetic counseling, and the capacity of our profession to support people engaging with questions about how genetic and genomic medicine impact them as individuals, families, communities, and society. I completed my education in genetic counseling at the University of California, Berkeley, and my capstone work addressed the relational impact of infertility on couples. I have worked in clinical practice at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital, providing inpatient and outpatient genetic counseling services for clients affected by or at risk for a broad range of genetic disorders. I have also worked for several years in both advocacy, at the National Fragile X Foundation, and industry, at Ambry Genetics. My research has focused on the process of consent for exome sequencing, health-related quality of life, and the use of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in clinical trials. I have been a faculty member within several genetic counseling training programs, serving as a course director, lecturer, and clinical supervisor. I have also held a variety of leadership positions within NSGC, ABGC, and ACGC. I joined Columbia University in 2017 as the inaugural program director for the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program.

 

Headshot of Michelle Ernst

Michelle Ernst, MS, CGC
Assistant Program Director

Course Director: Family History and Risk Assessment, Advanced Counseling Skills, Community, Identity and Engagement, Clinical Encounters, Process Group, Professional Formation

Fieldwork Supervisor: Cancer Genetics

I am an ABGC board-certified genetic counselor with six years of experience in clinical care, research, and translational genomics. My experience has allowed me to develop a nuanced understanding of both the challenges and successes of genomic medicine and to better appreciate the interface between clinical care and research in genetics and genomics. I attended the University of Michigan Genetic Counseling Program where my research focused on the lived experience of rare disease, particularly around the process and emotional effect of disclosing a diagnosis to peers during adolescence and young adulthood.  I have worked in clinical practice at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, serving as a clinical supervisor and rotation coordinator for genetic counseling students and contributing to programmatic development of the clinical cancer genetics service. I have also worked for several years at the Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM) at Columbia University Medical Center, where I have focused on the utilization of research whole exome sequencing toward the goal of therapeutic precision medicine in epilepsy. I joined the Columbia University Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in 2018 as the inaugural assistant program director. 

 

Jessica Giordano

Jessica Giordano, MS, CGC
Recruitment Director

Course Director: The Human Body: Structure and Function, Clinical Encounters, Process Group

I am an ABGC board-certified genetic counselor with 10 years of experience in clinical care, industry, and research focused on reproductive genetics. Reproductive genetics has offered me the opportunity to see evolving genetic testing technology transform practice, as I have been part of the transformative integration of cff-DNA, chromosomal microarray, and pan-ethnic carrier screening into clinical care. I completed my genetic counseling education at Sarah Lawrence College with a research focus in public health genomics and newborn screening. I have provided clinical care in a range of settings, including public hospitals, academic medical centers, private obstetric offices, and an industry-based company, Counsyl. Currently, I manage a research project utilizing exome/genome sequencing for structurally abnormal fetuses with the goal of communicating results to families that can impact their clinical management and reproductive decision-making. I have also been involved in education for many years, working with students in genetic counseling programs, medical school, and specialized medical fellowships. I joined the Columbia University Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in 2018 as the inaugural recruitment director.

 

Wendy Chung headshot

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD
Co-Medical Director

Course Director: The Human Body: Structure and Function, Introduction to Precision Medicine

I am an ABMG board-certified clinical and molecular geneticist with 20 years of experience in clinical care, education, and human genetic research of monogenic and complex traits. I have taught the Columbia medical and dental school course in human genetics since 2002 and have frequently given lectures in genetics at the School of Nursing, Mailman School of Public Health, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Law School, School of Journalism, and School of Social Work at Columbia University. I lead the precision medicine resource at the Irving Institute and have developed and have led the course in precision medicine since 2015. I have mentored over 90 postdoctoral fellows, medical/graduate/genetic counseling students, and junior faculty members, many of whom now have faculty positions at leading institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, Baylor, Columbia, and Cornell Universities.

 

Headshot of Ronald Wapner

Ronald Wapner, MD
Co-Medical Director

Course Director: The Human Body: Structure and Function

I am an ABMG and ABOG board-certified OB/GYN with 27 years of clinical experience. I have participated in or led randomized trials evaluating genetic prenatal diagnostic and screening technologies for more than 25 years. These include much of the original work evaluating chorionic villus sampling, biochemical and ultrasound screening for fetal chromosome abnormalities, a prospective comparison of chromosomal microarray to karyotyping for prenatal testing, microarray analysis of stillborn infants, and a comparison of cell-free DNA to biochemical and ultrasound screening in low-risk pregnant woman. My most recent work evaluated the role of expanded pan-ethnic carrier screening in prenatal care, which presented the largest experience of such testing to date and demonstrated racial and ethnic consequences in the screening recommendations, presently in practice. I am currently involved in evaluating the use of whole-exome sequencing in structurally abnormal fetuses. I have extensive experience as a mentor and teacher, serving as the director of fellowship programs at both Jefferson Medical College and Columbia University. I have supervised both clinical and basic science research trainees, many of whom now hold prominent positions at academic institutions and have made significant contributions to research in our field.

 

Program Faculty

 

Priyanka Ahimaz

Priyanka Ahimaz, MS, CGC
Course Director: Foundations of Clinical Genetics, General Genetics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Cardiogenetics

 

Carli Andrews, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Kwame Anyane-Yeboa

Kwame Anyane-Yeboa, MD
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Sara Berger

Sara Berger, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Headshot of Louise Bier

Louise Bier, MS, CGC
Course Director: Advanced Precision Medicine
Fieldwork Supervisor: Translational Genomics

 

Mariel Buque, PhD
Course Director: Foundations of Counseling Skills

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ilana Chilton, MS, CGC
Course Director: Foundations of Human Genetics
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Cancer Genetics

 

Katia Dergham, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Michele Disco, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Laboratory Genetic Counseling

 

Kris Englestad

Kris Engelstad, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Neurogenetics

 

Tamar Forman, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Headshot of Stephanie Galloway

Stephanie Galloway, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Reproductive Genetics

 

Alexa Geltzeiler, MSc
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Jill Goldman

Jill Goldman, MS, MPhil, MS, CGC
Course Director: Clinical Ethics for Genetic Counselors, Neurogenetics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: Neurogenetics

 

Emily Griffin

Emily Griffin, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Cardiogenetics

 

Edwin Guzman

Edwin Guzman, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Reproductive Genetics

 

Nina Harkavy, MSc, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Reproductive Genetics

 

Elizabeth Harrington

Elizabeth Harrington, MS, CGC
Course Director: Biochemical Genetics
Fieldwork Supervisor: Neurogenetics

 

 

Rebecca Hernan, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Halie Holmes, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Translational Genomics

 

Alejandro Iglesias, MD

Alejandro Iglesias, MD
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Headshot of Brooke Johannes

Brooke Johannes, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Reproductive Genetics, Laboratory Genetic Counseling

 

Headshot of Isha Kalia

Isha Kalia, MS, MPH, CGC
Course Director: Cardiogenetics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: Cardiogenetics

 

Catherine Kentros, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Cancer Genetics

 

Carrie Koval-Burt, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Cancer Genetics

 

Tina Kushary, MMSc
Fieldwork Supervisor: Translational Genomics

 

Elana Levinson

Elana Levinson, MS, MPH, CGC
Course Director: Genetics, Genomics, and Society, Applied Genetic Counseling, Cancer Genetics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: Cancer Genetics

 

Headshot of Natalie Lippa

Natalie Lippa, MS, CGC
Course Director: Translational Genomics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: Translational Genomics

 

 

Maureen Mulhern, MS, MAT, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Neurogenetics, Laboratory Genetic Counseling

 

Headshot of Elaine Pereira

Elaine Pereira, MD
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics, Reproductive Genetics

 

Anya Revah

Anya Revah Politi, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Translational Genomics

 

Scott Robinson, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Meredith Ross, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

 

Headshot of Maya Sabatello

Maya Sabatello, LLB, PhD
Course Director: ELSI Issues in Human Genomics

 

 

Megan Soucy, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Ophthalmologic Genetics, Laboratory Genetic Counseling

 

Erica Spiegel

Erica Spiegel, MS, CGC
Course Director: Reproductive Genetics, Applied Genetic Counseling, Reproductive Genetics Internship
Fieldwork Supervisor: Reproductive Genetics

 

Elana Spitz, MS
Fieldwork Supervisor: General Genetics

 

Melissa Stosic, MS, CGC
Course Facilitator: Professional Formation

 

Leyla Tabanfar

Leyla Tabanfar, MS, CGC
Fieldwork Supervisor: Cancer Genetics

 

 

 

Natalie Vena, MS, CGC
Fieldwork: Translational Genomics

 

Headshot of Julia Wynn

Julia Wynn, MS, MS, CGC
Course Director: Foundations of Research, Scholarly Project