Steven Keiles, M.S., CGC
Director of Clinical Affairs
Mr. Keiles began working at Ambry in 2000 where he oversees the client services department. He is also involved in contracting, new product development, pricing, marketing, and research publication. Mr. Keiles obtained his masters degree in genetic counseling from Sarah Lawrence College in 1987. As a genetic counselor at Kaiser Permanente his responsibilities included clinic coordination, program implementation and counseling for all genetic referrals. He was elected the 2009 President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, where he was responsible for leading the association and serving as the chief spokesperson. Mr. Keiles has more than 20 years of clinical experience and his research publications include molecular diagnostic testing for cystic fibrosis and pancreatitis.
Ira Lu, M.A., M.S., 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.
Kelly D. F. Gonzalez, M.S., CGC
Senior Manager of Clinical Genomics
Kelly Farwell Gonzalez 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 15 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 Gonzalez 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 Gonzalez 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.
Kimberly Banks, MS, CGC, MBA
Ms. Banks joined Ambry in 2013 after providing clinical cancer genetics services throughout Southern California for nine years. She received her BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley in 2002, her MS in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Northridge in 2004 and her MBA in 2013 from UC Irvine. Ms. Banks completed a one-year fellowship in cancer genetics at the City of Hope and then became the first Genetic Counselor at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. She built a cancer genetics program at St. Joseph Hospital and extended services to sister hospitals in the health system. She served on the NSGC Board of Directors, is Invited Faculty for the City of Hope Intensive Course in Cancer Genetics and has many peer reviewed publications on cancer genetics and other topics.
Virginia Speare, Ph.D., CGC
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.
Holly Laduca, M.S., CGC
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).
Tami Johnston, M.S., 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.
Melissa Parra, M.S., CGC
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.
Tina Pesaran, M.A., M.S., CGC
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.
Jill Siegfried, RN, MS, CGC
Ms. Siegfried, 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. Ms. Siegfried 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.
Aaron (AJ) Stuenkel, M.S., CGC
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).
Kendra Waller, M.S., CGC
Ms. Waller graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Genetics and received her M.S. from University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center. She served as a prenatal genetic counselor in the Clinical Services Division of Genzyme Genetics prior to joining Ambry.
Elaine Chen, M.S., LCGC
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.
Stephany Tandy, M.S., GC
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.
Jeannine St. John, M.S., LCGC
Accessioning Genetic Counselor
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.
Cristi Radford, M.S., CGC
Ms. Radford received her B.S. in Genetics from the University of Georgia and her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining Ambry in 2012, she spent seven years specializing in cancer genetic counseling in the community setting. She has also had research positions at Johns Hopkins University and Moffitt Cancer Center. She is the current president of Lynch Syndrome International (LSI) and a columnist for The Oncology Nurse.
Diana Tuman, M.S.
Product Manager, Genetic Counselor
Ms. Tuman joined Ambry in 2012 where she works as genetic counselor in the marketing department. She completed her B.S. in Human Physiology at Michigan State University, where she participated in genomics research. She then joined an New York advertising agency and had an opportunity to work on international campaigns like AT&T, Chevron and Kraft Foods. She also had the opportunity to represent major New York institutions like the American Museum of Natural History, St. Patrick's Cathedral and Bard Graduate Center. Ms. Tuman then received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from University of Alabama at Birmingham where she focused on emerging technologies like exome sequencing and its application to patient care.
Layla Shahmirzadi, M.S.
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.
Stephanie Gandomi, M.S., LGC
Mrs. Gandomi began her training as a genetic counselor at the University of Melbourne in Australia in 2002 and graduated from Brandeis University with an M.S. in Genetic Counseling in 2006. She obtained her undergraduate degree in communications in 2000, and has also pursued additional graduate studies in prenatal psychology. While at Brandeis, she worked as a research genetic counselor in the Department of Nephrology at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine in Boston investigating the genetics of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). She then moved to California in 2006 to co-establish the Stanford University/Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Perinatal Diagnostic Center in Salinas. Prior to working at Ambry, Mrs. Gandomi was a community health supervisor at the State of California Prenatal Screening Program in Sacramento.
Sarah Witherington, M.S.
Field Genetics Specialist for the Midwest
Ms. Witherington graduated from Louisiana State University in Shreveport with a B.S. in Biochemical Sciences and received her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. Prior to joining Ambry Genetics, she worked in several research and molecular diagnostics labs, researching everything from the genetic phylogeny of subtropical ferns to the genetics of Parkinson’s disease. Ms. Witherington is a current editor for Perspectives in Genetic Counseling. Her interests include the genetics of paragangliomas and pheochromocytomas as well as other endocrine disorders. She is currently the field genetics specialist for the Midwest.
Jenna Guiltinan, M.S.
Jenna graduated from CSU Stanislaus in 2013 with an M.S. in genetic counseling. She was interested in Next-Gen sequencing from the beginning and for her thesis she utilized Ambry’s genomic services to complete exome sequencing on a cohort of cancer patients. She studied Biological Anthropology as an undergraduate at Penn State University, where she did independent research on human genetic variation.
Pia Summerour, M.S.
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.
Jade Tinker, M.S.
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.
Laura Panos, M.S., CGC
Field Genetics Specialist
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 a field genetics specialist for the central states.
Alexandria Yonker, M.S., CGC
Field Genetics Specialist
Ms. Yonker received her B.S. in Biology from Doane College in 2004 and her M.S. in Medical Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. She then served as the Wisconsin State Genetics Coordinator and Newborn Screening Coordinator before moving into clinical practice as a cancer genetic counselor for California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Ms. Yonker joined Ambry Genetics in 2013 as the field genetic specialist for the Pacific Northwest region.
Lindsey Waltman, M.S., 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).
Dima El-Khechen, M.S.
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.
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.