The Genetic Counseling Program

Affiliated Faculty

Cassie Buck, MS, CGC, Lecturer in Genetic Counseling

Professor Buck graduated from the Brandeis Genetic Counseling Program in 2009. She began her GC career working for a genetic testing laboratory, before leaving to work in an academic research setting. Acting as the Research Counselor & Study Coordinator, Cassie met with patients and their families with reproductive disorders to enroll them into genomic research, collect phenotypic and family history data, and expand family participation, while also collecting/reviewing data for manuscript preparation and overseeing IRB compliance.

Now, Cassie oversees student Master’s thesis projects and research training. She individually meets with the 1st year GC students in the spring to develop their thesis and teaches “Genetic Counseling Research Project” which begins in the summer after the first year and continues through the second year.  Each student designs and implements an independent research project which culminates in a presentation to the faculty and students, as well as a thesis paper submitted to the Brandeis Thesis Repository and an abstract submitted to the National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Education Conference.

Joe Cunningham, PhD, Professor of Psychology

Professor Cunningham has been facilitating "Genetic Counseling Process Group" since the inception of the program in 1992. Working within a small group, he works closely to integrate students' shared experiences from field placements, coursework, internships and individual lives to becoming genetic counselors.

As a Psychology Department faculty member, Joe conducts research on children's cognitive and emotional development and on the nonverbal communication of emotion by children and adults. He teaches courses in clinical psychology and developmental psychopathology.

Judy Jackson, MS, CGC, Lecturer in Genetic Counseling

After graduating from the Brandeis GC program in 1996, Professor Jackson has spent many years as a clinic-based prenatal genetic counselor in different settings throughout the Boston area. In addition to her full-time clinical genetic counseling position at South Shore Hospital, Judy teaches Human Reproductive and Development Biology to 1st year GC students and Brandeis undergraduates.

Kate Kramer, PhD, CGC, Lecturer in Genetic Counseling

After completing a PhD in genetics and molecular biology at Brandeis in 1994, Professor Kramer went on to receive her MS in Genetic Counseling from Northwestern University. She worked as a clinical genetic counselor for several years and, more recently, worked in the private sector in a genetic testing laboratory. She now teaches "Human Genetics" to first year genetic counseling students and undergraduates, and works with students on their thesis research. This spring, she will be teaching a course for the Heller School of Social Policy, "Integrative Seminar on Health".

Barbara Lerner, CGC, PhD, Lecturer in Genetic Counseling

Professor Lerner is the former Co-Director for Research and Professional Development at Brandeis' Genetic Counseling Program. During her tenure, she initiated the Family Pals program—a program in which first-year students are paired with a family who has a child with a disability. The student and family engage in social activities that give the student first-hand knowledge of what its like for a family to accommodate a child's special needs into the family structure.

Since leaving the co-directorship at Brandeis, Barbara went on to earn a PhD in Health Services Research from the Boston University School of Public Health. She subsequently returned to the program to teach "American Health Policy & Practice and the Delivery of Genomic Health Care" to the first and second year genetic counseling students and continues in the role of primary advisor for student Master Thesis projects. Barbara's research focuses on improving the quality of genetic services with particular attention to patient-centered provider communication.

Alice Noble, JD, MPH, Senior Lecturer in the Legal Studies Program and Adjunct Lecturer in The Heller School

Professor Noble is the newest faculty member in the program and is responsible for teaching "Genetics, Law and Social Policy" to the first and second year genetic counseling students. She also teaches Health Law and Ethics at The Heller School and Genetics, Law, and Society in the Legal Studies Program. She is also on the faculty of Boston College Law School and Tufts Medical School. Prior to teaching at Brandeis, Alice taught at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Terri I. Queler, MSW, LICSW, Adjunct Associate Professor of the Practice of Genetic Counseling

Professor Queler joined the Program in January 2016 and is teaching two courses. Counseling Theory and Technique is a first-year class that covers a comprehensive view of counseling theory and practice. Some of the topics explored are: listening, observing and developing clinical counseling skills that form the core of a genetic counseling practice.

Genetic Counseling: Case Conferences and Family Counseling is a course for second year students, and is co-taught with Professor Janet Rosenfield. In this course, case studies provide the basis for discussion of a variety of genetic disorders and the application of counseling modalities. Students have an opportunity to share experiences gained during their clinical internships. Discussions emphasize the interplay of medical, psychological, ethical, legal, social and cultural factors in genetic counseling.

Terri has a private practice in Newton, MA. Her primary focus includes: perinatal health and wellness, couples and college mental health. Her practice includes a full range of treatment approaches including individual, couples and group counseling.

Janet Rosenfield, MS, CGC, Lecturer in Genetic Counseling

Professor Rosenfield co-teaches Genetic Counseling Case Conferences with Terri Queler to second year students. Students choose a clinical case of interest and apply counseling theory to the case in both a class presentation and a ready-for-publication paper. She also teaches a first-year student process group and regularly participates as a thesis advisor.

Beyond the GC program, Janet participates in a leader-led peer supervision group that meets monthly. Group members alternate presenting responsibilities which include any professional or personal issue that impacts genetic counseling. The confidential and supportive setting provides a safe haven for all participants and a way for genetic counselors to continue their education by building and reinforcing their counseling skills and best practices.

Janet is also on the Board of Understanding Our Differences (UOD). Understanding Our Differences is a disability education curricula taught to elementary school–aged children in many school systems in the greater Boston area. She is the Resource Specialist for Intellectual Disabilities and, trains the parent volunteers to deliver the unit in the classroom. The curriculum is based on people-first language that informs adults and children about issues that those with disabilities face. The curriculum educates but also emphasizes the similarities between us as opposed to the differences. It teaches students how to be an ally not a bully and an "upstander" as opposed to a bystander.

Rachel Woodruff, PhD, Lecturer in Biology

Professor Woodruff is a full time faculty member in the Biology Department and teaches undergraduate genetics and cancer biology, as well as "Molecular Biotechnology" for first year GC students and advanced undergraduates. Rachel received her PhD in biology from MIT and prior to coming to Brandeis taught biology at MIT and Biochemistry at Suffolk University.

415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 736-2000