Aaron (AJ) Stuenkel, MS, CGC
Manager, Cancer Reporting
Mr. Stuenkel joined Ambry following his graduate training at Boston University School of Medicine, where he earned an M.S. in Genetic Counseling. He also holds a B.S. in Genetics from the University of California, Davis and prior to his current position, worked as a clinical cancer research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital. Mr. Stuenkel is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC).
Amanda Bergner, MS, CGC
Senior Product Manager - Neurology
Amanda Bergner received a B.A. in Psychology and Environmental Science at the University of Virginia and her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Bergner began her career at the National Fragile X Foundation providing genetic counseling and educational services for families living with fragile X and related conditions. In 2001, she moved to clinical care at Johns Hopkins in General Genetics with a focus on neurometabolic diseases. In 2008, Ms. Bergner became the first genetic counselor in the Neurology Department at Johns Hopkins, working primarily in the Comprehensive Neurofibromatosis Center which she co-founded. She began conducting clinical research regarding the process of adaptation of individuals and families to chronic, inherited disease and transitioned to a faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Genetics. Her clinical work expanded along with the growth of the field of neurogenetics and she provided genetic counseling services within several subspecialty clinics: ataxia, pediatric neurogenetics, neuromuscular disease, and ALS. Throughout her career, Ms. Bergner has educated genetic counseling students, through clinical rotations and observations, as well as serving on the faulty for the NHGRI/Johns Hopkins Genetic Counseling Training Program. She is currently a board member of the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). Ms. Bergner joined Ambry in 2015 as the Senior Product Manager focused on neurology genetic testing.
Anne Bandholz, MS
Ms. Bandholz graduated from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and later earned her Master of Science in genetic counseling from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. Ms. Bandholz subsequently joined the pediatric genetics team at the Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte where she enjoyed working with patients and families as a clinical pediatric genetic counselor from 2004 to 2009. Ms. Bandholz transitioned to a laboratory position with Signature Genomics in 2009, serving as a clinical laboratory liaison genetic counselor until 2014. In this role, she enjoyed supporting client understanding of complex microarray results, managing complex cases, and helping clinicians integrate microarray testing into their prenatal practice. Ms. Bandholz joined the Clinical Genomics team at Ambry in 2014.
Ashley Deckman, MS, CGC
Mrs. Deckman graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2007 with a B.S. in Neuroscience, Psychology and Zoology and was employed in a developmental biology laboratory at the University of Minnesota until attending graduate school. In 2011, she graduated from Northwestern University with an M.S. in Genetic Counseling. Following graduation Mrs. Deckman worked for North Memorial Health Care, splitting her time between cancer genetics and maternal fetal medicine. Mrs. Deckman is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), and the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association (MNGCA), where she has co-chaired the Minnesota state licensure effort for genetic counselors. She joined the Ambry team in 2014 as a genetic counselor.
Carin Espenschied, MS, CGC
Senior Product Manager - Hereditary Cancers
Ms. Espenschied is a licensed, board-certified genetic counselor with a special interest in hereditary cancer syndromes. She joined Ambry in 2013 as a product manager, primarily focusing on hereditary cancer testing. Prior to joining Ambry, she worked as a clinical cancer genetic counselor at City of Hope for six years, including one year as Assistant Director of the Cancer Screening & Prevention Program there. Ms. Espenschied has a Master's degree in genetic counseling from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor's degree in biology from Pepperdine University. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and is on the Executive Council of the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Colorectal Cancer.
Carla Mason, MS, CGC
Mrs. Mason completed her Master of Science in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002. She established the Cancer Genetics Department at Clearview Cancer Institute in Huntsville, Alabama and later developed the Cancer Genetics Center at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Mrs. Mason has special interests in hereditary cancer syndromes and tumor biomarker analysis.
Carrie Horton, MS, CGC
Ms. Horton received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from University of Maryland, Baltimore County and went on to work in a science museum developing exhibits for children in the areas of microbiology, public health, and genetics. She then earned her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling at Arcadia University. She accepted a prenatal and cancer genetic counseling position at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN to focus on provider education and patient advocacy in the Midsouth region. She later established and directed the cancer genetic counseling program at The West Clinic before joining Ambry.
Christian Gund, MS
Mr. Gund graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences. He then completed his Master of Science in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 2014. Upon completing his graduate training, he joined Ambry as a reporting genetic counselor for the whole exome team in order to pursue his interest in the challenges of delivering genomic services on large scale.
Christina Alamillo, MS, CGC
Christina Alamillo, MS, CGC graduated from the University of Michigan in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and pre-medicine focus. In 2004 she earned her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the University of South Carolina, and subsequently began her career as a genetic counselor at the Reproductive Genetics Institute and University of Illinois division of Maternal Fetal Medicine in Chicago. Prior to working at Ambry, Christina spent more than five years as the senior genetic counselor and laboratory testing coordinator at Northwestern Reproductive Genetics, where she was involved in the R&D of new next generation sequencing panels, coordinated sample accessioning, managed client services, wrote reports, and created patient information and marketing materials. She also researched and authored a number of peer reviewed cohort studies focusing on prenatal genetic testing following the identification of ultrasound abnormalities. Her interest in new molecular testing options led her to join Ambry as a member of the clinical genomics group in 2014.
Christy Moore, MS, CGC
Product Manager- Pediatrics
Mrs. Moore received her MS in Genetic Counseling from UC Irvine. Prior to that, she received her MS in Human Genetics from UC Davis, where she was involved in research on the genetic and epigenetic causes of autism. Before her time in graduate school, Mrs. Moore spent four years teaching biology and coaching basketball at a continuation high school in Northern California. Since graduating from UC Irvine, she has been practicing in the field of prenatal genetic counseling, through both the California Screening Program and a private high risk prenatal clinic. Mrs. Moore joined Ambry in 2014 in order to pursue her love of pediatric genetics and biotechnology.
Deepti Babu, MS, CGC
Deepti Babu earned her Master’s in Human Genetics/Genetic Counseling from Sarah Lawrence College. Deepti joined Ambry in 2014, and creates and manages written content across multiple channels coming to/from Ambry’s Marketing department. She is a genetic counselor with 15 years of clinical experience working with families in several areas of genetics, all while fueling her passion for writing and editing through numerous volunteer and freelance projects. Deepti was Executive Editor of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ member publication, Perspectives in Genetic Counseling, for five years. During this time she led a team to transition it to an interactive digital magazine. In 2014, she began co-leading a similar project for Crossover, the member publication of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors.
Dima El-Khechen, MS, CGC
Ms. El-Khechen earned her M.S. in Biology from the American University of Beirut and her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Wayne State University in Detroit. She worked as a clinical genetic counselor for nine years, first in adult neurogenetics at the Detroit Medical Center and then in general pediatric genetics at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis. She joined the Ambry team in August 2013 as a genetic counselor on the whole Exome team.
Elaine Weltmer, MS, CGC
Ms. Chen completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley where she also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Health and Medical Apprenticeship Program. She then worked in education for a few years before pursuing graduate studies. Ms. Chen completed her M.S. in Genetic Counseling at the University of California at Irvine (UCI). While at UCI, Ms. Chen worked as a Research Study Coordinator at the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics. Prior to joining Ambry, Ms. Chen worked for several years as a clinical prenatal genetic counselor with Integrated Genetics.
Emily Dalton, MS, CGC
Mrs. Dalton joined Ambry in 2013 as the regional genetic specialist for the Northeast. Prior to joining Ambry, Emily spent four years as a clinical cancer genetic counselor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. In addition to her clinical work at DFCI, Emily also participated in a number of research studies and was a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee. She earned her MS in Genetic Counseling from the Boston University School of Medicine, and her BA in Cell and Molecular Biology from Skidmore College. She remains very active with the BU program, and teaches a semester-long course entitled: “Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues in Genetic Counseling” and is a member of the program’s Advisory Board.
Evelyn Rose Crawford, MS
Ms. Crawford completed her undergraduate education with a B.S. of Biochemistry from Marlboro College in Vermont. After working for two years post-college, she attended Case Western Reserve University in Ohio for her M.S. in Genetic Counseling and became a member of NSGC. Following the completion of her graduate studies, Ms. Crawford joined the Ambry team.
Heather Newman, MS, CGC
Mrs. Newman received her B.S. in Genetics and Psychology from the University of California, Davis in 2012 and received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of California, Irvine in 2014. During her academic career, she worked in a Neuroendocrinology laboratory investigating the role of BDNF in stress-induced mice and in a Feline Genetics laboratory where she studied the genotypic differences between Persian and Bengal cats. Mrs. Newman joined the Ambry team in 2014 in order to pursue her passion for Neurogenetics.
Holly Laduca, MS, CGC
Supervisor, Clinical Data and Research Analyst
Mrs. LaDuca, M.S., CGC received her B.S. in Health Science from Benedictine University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She then received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Ambry, Mrs. LaDuca served as a clinical genetic counselor in the Department of Cancer Services at Northwest Community Hospital (Arlington Heights, IL).
Ira Lu, MA, MS, CGC
Manager of Clinical Diagnostics
Ms. Lu graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.S. and M.A. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She was actively involved in undergraduate genetics and microbiology courses as a teaching assistant and researched quantitative trait loci (QTL) for cholesterol gallstone susceptibility in a mouse model. She was the principal QTL curator for the Mouse Genome Database at The Jackson Laboratory from 2001-2009 and received her training in genetic counseling and M.S. in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College in 2007. Prior to working at Ambry Genetics, Ms. Lu was a clinical prenatal genetic counselor with Genzyme Genetics.
Jade Tinker, MS, CGC
Ms. Tinker graduated from Southwestern University in 2010 with a B.S. in Animal Behavior. During her undergraduate career, she studied the sexual behavior of rats. Her interest in both biology and psychology led her to a career in genetic counseling. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Utah with an M.S. in Genetic Counseling. Her graduate research project involved the prevalence autistic traits in children with neurofibromatosis type 1. Prior to joining Ambry, Ms. Tinker taught biology classes at Mt. View Community College in Dallas, TX and contracted work with Illumina, Inc.
Jeannine St. John, MS, CGC
Ms. St. John graduated from Illinois State University in 2008 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. Ms. St. John then completed a Summers of Discovery Internship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences performing research with the Microarray Group at the Research Triangle Park in Durham, NC. She then received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of California, Irvine in 2010. Prior to working at Ambry, Ms. St. John worked with the California Prenatal Screening Program at the University of California, Irvine as a Program Coordinator.
Jenna Guiltinan, MS
Ms. Guiltinan graduated from Penn State University in 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Anthropology, where she specialized in human genetic variation and performed research on the genetics of iris texture. During graduate school at CSU Stanislaus, Ms. Guiltinan was most interested in next-gen sequencing, frontotemporal dementia, and the ethics of informed consent. For her thesis, Ms. Guiltinan oversaw a coordinated research project with the UCSF Cancer Risk Program and Ambry Genetics to sequence the exome of 32 early-onset colorectal cancer patients. Ms. Guiltinan has also been involved with the disability community for most of her life, working as a home care coordinator, job coach, and Special Olympics volunteer.
Jessica Grzybowski, MS, CGC
Jessica graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2005 with a B.S. in Biology, with an emphasis in Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, she worked for several years in a lab studying the developmental effects of chemical pollutants and the identification of genes that influence sensitivity and resistance to the effects of these chemicals, using the zebrafish as a model. In 2008, she graduated from Northwestern University with an M.S. in Genetic Counseling. Following graduation, Jessica established the cancer genetics program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has more recently worked in Wisconsin at both Aurora Health Care and The Medical College of Wisconsin with experience in prenatal, adult and cancer genetics. Jessica is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), and the Wisconsin cancer Risk Programs Network (WiCRPN). She joined the Ambry team in 2014 as a cancer reporting genetic counselor.
Jill Dolinsky, RN, MS, CGC
Senior Manager of Clinical Research
Mrs. Dolinsky, RN, MS, CGC joined Ambry in 2011, after serving for three years as a research genetic counselor with the Familial Dilated Cardiomyopathy Research Project (www.fdc.to) and as a clinical genetic counselor with the Cardiovascular Genetic Medicine Program at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine. From 2004-2008, she served as Program Coordinator for the Cancer Risk Evaluation Program at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Mrs. Dolinsky graduated from the University of Delaware with BAs in Neuroscience and in Educational Studies, obtained a Bachelors of Nursing from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA and received her MS in Medical Genetics from the University of Cincinnati.
Katherine Helbig, MS
Ms. Helbig graduated from Cornell University in 2003 with a BA in Biological Sciences and received her MS in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University in 2009. Ms. Helbig has a strong interest in the role of genetic factors in seizure disorders. She previously worked for several years at the Epilepsy Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia, where she was involved in researching the clinical genetic aspects of the epilepsies. During her graduate studies at Arcadia, Ms. Helbig investigated the influence of genetic risk perception on reproductive decision-making among individuals with epilepsy. More recently Ms. Helbig was part of the Institute of Epidemiology at the University of Kiel, Germany, where she served as the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Coordinator for the popgen 2.0 Biobank Network. Ms. Helbig joined Ambry in June 2014 as a genetic counselor with the whole exome team.
Kelly Farwell Hagman, MS, CGC
Managing Director, Clinical Genomics
Kelly Farwell Hagman received a B.A. in Psychobiology from Scripps College (the Claremont Colleges) and a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of Arizona. Prior to her graduate studies, she spent several years in a research lab studying DNA mutagenesis. She later worked for more than four years as a senior genetic counselor at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at City of Hope, where she continued her involvement in research, most of which focused on Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS). She has more than 25 peer-reviewed publications in molecular genetics and has been an invited lecturer at several scientific meetings. Driven by her interest in new molecular technologies, Ms. Farwell Hagman joined Ambry in 2009 to lead the genomic services group where she gained expertise in multiple sequencing platforms and DNA/RNA enrichment techniques. Ms. Farwell Hagman currently leads Ambry's emerging clinical genomics offerings, most notably, the Clinical Diagnostic Exome, which allows her to draw on her expertise in next-gen sequencing, DNA mutagenesis, and genetic counseling.
Kendra Waller, MS, CGC
Ms. Waller graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Genetics and was active in microbial research for completion of her studies. She received her M.S. from University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center in 2001, participating in research efforts at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Prior to her graduate work, Ms. Waller worked as a research technician for the Human Genome Project at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. After earning her M.S., she provided services as a prenatal genetic counselor in the Clinical Services Division of Genzyme Genetics in multiple cities in Texas, Florida, and California until 2011 when she joined Ambry Genetics.
Laura Panos, MS, CGC
Director, Genetic Specialists
Ms. Panos graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Biology. As an undergraduate, she worked in a lab studying dental genetics. She then received a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston/MDAnderson. Prior to joining Ambry, Ms. Panos worked for the Baylor Health Care System developing the cancer and cardiovascular genetic counseling clinics. She currently serves on the Texas Society of Genetic Counselors board of directors as the ad-hoc licensure chair. At Ambry, Ms. Panos is the director of the field based genetic specialist team.
Layla Shahmirzadi, MS, CGC
Product Manager - Clinical Genomics
Ms. Shahmirzadi joined Ambry in 2012 as a genetic counselor specializing in genomics after earning her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Stanford University School of Medicine. She has a strong educational background in new technologies including next-generation sequencing with a particular interest in whole genome/whole exome sequencing. Prior to beginning her genetic counseling training, Ms. Shahmirzadi worked as a genetic counselor assistant at the Cancer Risk Program at UCSF and as a DNA Technician at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory. She also earned a second M.S. in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and her B.S. in Psychology from University of California, Davis.
Lindsey Waltman, MS, CGC
Mrs. Waltman graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2008 with a B.S. in Biology. She then received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of Utah in 2010. Prior to her position at Ambry, Mrs. Waltman worked as a genetic counselor in the Cytogenetic Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and also counseled pediatric patients in Medical Genetics. She joined Ambry Genetics in 2013 as an accessioning genetic counselor. Mrs. Waltman is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC).
Marilyn Tsang, MS, CGC
Ms. Tsang received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of Arizona in 2004. She was board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counselors and is licensed to practice in the state of California. Her previous experience in genetics involved working in a research lab to isolate, map, and clone the gene for Athabaskan Brainstem Dysgenesis (ABD), a unique neurological disorder affecting Navajo, Apache, and Pima tribes. Prior to joining the Ambry Genetics Exome Team, she was a clinical genetic counselor specializing in prenatal, metabolic, and pediatric genetics.
Mary Pritzlaff, MS, CGC
Ms. Pritzlaff joined Ambry in 2014, after providing clinical cancer genetic counseling services for four years at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Ms. Pritzlaff graduated cum laude with a BS in Genetics from Texas A&M University, received her MS in Genetic Counseling from the University of Cincinnati, and is board certified by the ABGC. She is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and the Texas Society of Genetic Counselors (TSGC), has peer reviewed and lay publications on cancer genetics and genetic counseling service delivery models, and has been an invited lecturer on these topics for both professional and lay organizations. In addition to her work with Ambry, Ms. Pritzlaff also serves as a volunteer outreach coordinator for Facing Our Risk Empowered (FORCE) in Ft. Worth and Austin, Texas.
Melissa Dempsey, MS, CGC
Product Manger - Cardiology
Mrs. Dempsey received her B.S. in Biology and her M.S. in Medical and Molecular Genetics from Indiana University. After completing her degree in 2004, Mrs. Dempsey began her career in genetic counseling at the University of Chicago in prenatal and pediatric clinics. During this time she became an integral part of the molecular diagnostics laboratory and transitioned to Director of Clinical Services and Education. While in Chicago, Mrs. Dempsey was also a faculty member of the Northwestern Genetic Counseling Program and co-supervisor of a 5-week laboratory course for over five years. In 2012, Mrs. Dempsey moved to Fort Wayne, IN, and developed a new Genetics program at Parkview Health, which includes Genetic Counseling in the Cancer Center, Heart Institute and Prenatal Genetic Counseling. She also organized the Parkview Pharmacogenetics Working Group. Mrs. Dempsey is an active member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the American College of Medical Genetics. She is also faculty for the Indiana University School of Medicine and co-teaches their course in Medical Genetics in Fort Wayne. She joined Ambry in 2014 as a product manager focused on cardiovascular genetic testing.
Melissa Parra, MS, CGC
Senior Manager of Clinical Diagnostics
Ms. Parra, M.S., CGC joined the client services department at Ambry Genetics in 2010. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Davis in 1997 and Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Northridge in 2005. In her current position, Ms. Parra assists clients with test coordination, result reporting and interpretation. Her specialty within the department is in chromosome microarray analysis and the NextGen sequencing panel for X-linked mental retardation.
Michelle Jackson received a B.S. in Genetics and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Ms. Jackson achieved certification in 2009 from the American Board of Genetic Counselors. Ms. Jackson began her career at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center providing genetic counseling and educational services for families with or at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes, including but not limited to breast cancer, endocrine tumor conditions, and pediatric cancer families. In 2010, Ms. Jackson led efforts to establish a pediatric cancer genetics clinic to provide genetic counseling to pediatric patients and their families at risk for hereditary cancer syndromes. In 2012, Ms. Jackson, in conjunction with Dr. Louise Strong and other experts, created the Li-Fraumeni syndrome Education And Early Detection Program (LEAD Program). The LEAD Program provides comprehensive cancer screening to children and adults with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. She began conducting clinical research regarding Li-Fraumeni syndrome and other hereditary cancer syndromes in addition to mentoring genetic counseling students in their thesis research projects. Ms. Jackson also acted as a rotation coordinator and supervisor for genetic counseling students, fellows/residents, and other visiting observers. She is currently an active member in the Texas Society of Genetic Counselors and the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Ms. Jackson joined Ambry in 2015 as the Product Manager focused on HBOC and endocrine products.
Monalyn Umali, MS
Ms. Umali graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics and a minor in Psychology. In 2013, she obtained her Master of Science degree from California State University, Stanislaus in Genetic Counseling. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Umali worked at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, genotyping populations for HLA genes associated with Type 1 Diabetes. Additionally, she also worked at Roche Molecular Diagnostics, developing companion diagnostic tests for profiling of genetic markers in cancer. She has a passion for the field of medical genetics and has special interest in cross-cultural genetic counseling.
Accessioning Genetic Counselor
Mrs. Fleming graduated from Oberlin College in 2008 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Psychology. She then moved to North Carolina to work at a private oncology practice, where she took on a variety of roles including coordinating research and working directly with oncologists and genetic counselors. She then received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2012. During attendance at UNC-G, she was a research assistant at Genomedical Connections in Greensboro. Prior to working at Ambry, Mrs. Fleming worked as a genetic counselor at LabCorp in RTP, NC. She joined Ambry Genetics in 2014 as an accessioning genetic counselor.
Pia Summerour, MS, CGC
Mrs. Summerour graduated from University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Biology (Emphasis: Genetics) and a B.A. in Sociology. As an undergraduate, she worked in a lab studying embryological development. She then received a M.S. in Genetic Counseling from California State University Northridge while working on a research study investigating the genetic etiology of testicular cancer at USC Keck School of Medicine. Prior to joining Ambry in 2013, Mrs. Summerour spent nine years serving as a cancer genetic counselor at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Smita Rao, MS
Smita graduated with a bachelors in Medicine from Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka, India in 1996. Due to a strong interest in genetics she persued a Masters in Genetic Counseling from the University of Colorado at Denver graduating in 2000. She started her career as a cancer genetics counselor at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, in Little Rock, AR. She moved to Dallas, TX and continued her career as a cancer genetic counselor with the Simmons Cancer Center at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Having an interest in research, she got an opportunity to do platform and poster presentations at NSGC over the years. In an attempt to broaden her genetic horizons, she joined the only adult genetics in North Texas at the McDermott Center in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and worked as the sole genetic counselor. She gained experience in counseling for a gamut of non-cancer related adult onset disorders for close to two years before bringing her expertise to Ambry Genetics.
Stacy Lloyd, MS, CGC
Ms. Lloyd, MS, CGC, joined the reporting department at Ambry Genetics in 2014. She received her B.S. Degree in Zoology from Arizona State and The Ohio State Universities in 1997. She received her M.S. Degree in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University in 2000. Prior to joining Ambry, Ms. Lloyd worked as a freelance genetic counselor for laboratories across the United States, a prenatal genetic counselor as well as an in-house laboratory genetic counselor with PerkinElmer Genetics newborn screening lab and Cincinnati Children's molecular lab. During her years at PerkinElmer Genetics and Cincinnati Children's, she held numerous roles in follow up coordination, reporting, QA, launching, education, procedures, and data analysis. In 2009, she won an award at the APHL newborn screening meeting for her poster on G6PD deficiency and its significance in newborn screening.
Stephany Connor, MS
Ms. Tandy graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Genetic Biology in 2000, and worked in molecular/toxicology research laboratories in Indianapolis until attending graduate school. She earned her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University in Philadelphia, and then moved to southern California to work as a clinical Genetic Counselor, specializing in pediatric and cancer genetics for Kaiser Permanente. She joined the Ambry team in the beginning of 2012 as a Genetic Counselor focused on cancer genetics.
Tami Johnston, MS, CGC
Mrs. Johnston graduated from Tulane University with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology and received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling with Distinction from California State University, Northridge. During her graduate training, Mrs. Johnston's clinical rotation sites included Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of California, Los Angeles Familial Cancer Registry & Genetic Evaluation Program. She then embarked on her career at Alfigen, The Genetics Institute, where she worked in both clinical and laboratory settings. She spent several years as a laboratory Genetic Coordinator at Genzyme Genetics before joining Ambry Genetics.
Tina Pesaran, MA, MS, CGC
Cancer Variant Classification Supervisor
Mrs. Pesaran graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. She remained at UCLA for her masters in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, studying the genetics of cardiovascular disease. She then received her master’s in genetic counseling from California State University, Northridge. Prior to working at Ambry, Mrs. Pesaran worked as a cancer genetic counselor at the GenRISK program at Cedars Sinai and then as a prenatal and cancer genetic counselor at Harlem Hospital Center.
Tracey Leedom, MS, CGC
Ms. Leedom graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. degree in Medical Technology (Clinical Laboratory Science) in 1992, and worked in clinical chemistry and molecular diagnostic laboratories in Chapel Hill until attending graduate school. She earned her M.S. degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2003. Upon graduation, she worked at Duke University Medical Center as a research genetic counselor/study coordinator in the laboratory of Douglas A. Marchuk, PhD and also worked as a clinical genetic counselor in the Duke Hereditary Cancer Clinic. Ms. Leedom joined the Ambry team in 2014 as a reporting genetic counselor.
Virginia Speare, PhD, CGC
Senior Genetic Specialist
Dr. Speare joined Ambry in 2012 following a career in cancer genetic counseling and prenatal genetic education with Crozer-Keystone Health System near Philadelphia, PA. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA where her thesis explored the genetic makeup of the eukaryotic single cell organism, Tetrahymena thermophila. After completing clinical training in genetics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Speare was certified in Genetic Counseling by the ABGC. She has a special interest in issues of access to genetic health care and the education of clinicians who are integrating genetics and genomics into their practice.
Vruti Mehta, MS
Ms. Mehta completed her Master of Science in Biotechnology from University of Mumbai in 2008. She then worked as a clinical assistant at a cytogenetic laboratory for two years before pursuing further education in the US. Ms. Mehta completed her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from University of South Carolina in 2012. Before joining Ambry in 2014, she worked as a laboratory genetic counselor for Signature Genomics. She joined Ambry Genetics as a reporting genetic counselor on the clinical genomics team.
Zöe Powis, MS, CGC
Ms. Powis completed her Bachelor of Science degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology at the University of Arizona in 1997. During that time, she worked in cancer research at the University of Arizona Cancer Center with laboratory projects specializing in cancer genetics. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Powis worked as residential and substance abuse counselor. In 2003, she obtained her master's degree in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University. Upon graduation, Ms. Powis worked in prenatal and infertility genetic counseling and as a laboratory genetic coordinator at Genzyme Genetics. Prior to joining Ambry, she worked 7 years at the University of Arizona, in pediatric, neuromuscular, metabolic, cancer, adult genetic counseling and various research focuses.