The Genetic Counseling Graduate Program faculty draws on nationally and internationally recognized leaders in genetic counseling theory and practice, medical genetics and genomics, laboratory genetics, statistical genetics, genetic epidemiology, public health and ethics. Our faculty is comprised of genetic counselors, medical geneticists, basic science researchers and other highly qualified instructors.

This is unpublished

Program Faculty

Robin Bennett
Robin Bennett, M.S., CGC
Program Director

Robin Bennett, Professor of Medicine, brings over 35 years of experience in genetic counseling to the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. Over the span of her career, she has cared for more than 25,000 patients in the Genetic Medicine Clinic at the UW Medical Center and helped train future genetic counselors and medical geneticists.  

Globally recognized as a leader in genetics education, Robin has lectured and consulted in Australia, Saudi Arabia and China. At the GCGP, she is the primary instructor for Cancer Genetics and Genomics, Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling, and co-instructor for the three-quarter Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice series. 

Robin has made significant contributions to the body of knowledge of genetic counseling and is most known for her work in pedigree nomenclature, consanguinity, presymptomatic testing for Huntington disease and other neurogenetic disorders, recurrent miscarriage, fragile X syndrome, Fabry disease, cancer genetics, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Code of Ethics. She’s also helped develop NSGC’s original protocol for the creation of practice guidelines and is the author of “The Practical Guide to the Genetic Family History.” The National Human Genome Research Institute noted her team’s recent publication, “Practice resource-focused revision: Standardized pedigree nomenclature update centered on sex and gender inclusivity: A practice resource of the National Society of Genetics Counselors,” as an accomplishment in genomic medicine. 

As a prominent leader in medical genetics and genetic counseling, Robin served as president of the NSGC, on the board of directors of the American Board of Genetic Counseling, and as a founding board member and past president of the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling. She was on the board of directors of the American Society of Human Genetics and currently serves on the Awards Committee. Robin is the recipient of multiple honors, including the NSGC Natalie Weissberger Paul National Achievement Award and as a distinguished lecturer in the Janus Series. She received the Art of Listening Award from the Genetic Alliance, and the Pathfinder Alumni Award from the Mercer Island School District. At the UW she has been recognized with the Distinguished Staff Award, the Department of Medicine Distinguished Faculty Award, and as one of 75 Changemakers over 75 years. Robin earned a master's degree in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kenyon College, which later awarded her an honorary scientific doctorate. She teaches Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I, II, and III; Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling, and Cancer Genetics and Genomics for the GCGP.



Elizabeth Blue
Elizabeth Blue, Ph.D.

Elizabeth "Liz" Blue, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine, is a statistical geneticist whose research focuses on identifying genetic variants influencing complex and Mendelian traits. While her lab focuses on genetic modifiers of Alzheimer’s disease, she is highly collaborative, actively participating in the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project, the Cystic Fibrosis Genome Project, the UW Center for Mendelian Genomics and the Pacific Northwest Undiagnosed Diseases Network. She's also a member of the Institute for Public Health Genetics. Liz earned her doctorate in anthropology at the University of Utah. She teaches Biostatistics in Genetic Counseling for the GCGP where she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for population genetics, statistical genetics, and bioinformatics.


Penny Chow
Penny Chow, M.S., CGC
Director of Fieldwork Education

Penny Chow started with the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program in early 2021. For over 15 years, she worked as a pediatric genetic counselor at Seattle Children's Hospital. While most of her clinical focus was in the Craniofacial Center and the 22q Clinic, in the past she has worked at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Biochemical Genetics Clinic, the Genetic Medicine Clinic, the Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic and the State of Alaska Biochemical Genetics Clinic.

Penny started the genetic counseling internship program at Seattle Children’s in 2009 and oversaw the program for more than 10 years. She brings the expertise she gained to her current role at the UW GCGP as the Director of Fieldwork Education. In addition to her love of pediatric genetic counseling, her other passions are training genetic counseling students and coordinating clinical rotations. Penny earned a master’s degree in genetic counseling from California State University, Northridge. She teaches Clinical Practicum I, II, III, and IV for the GCGP.



Raj Kapur
Raj Kapur, M.D., Ph.D.

Raj Kapur is a professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, and practices a combination of surgical and autopsy pathology at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He directs the autopsy program at Seattle Children’s, where his team performs expert examinations on fetuses and infants with birth defects, which are referred from around the Puget Sound region. His love of human embryology began during medical school and led to his doctoral studies of preimplantation mouse embryo development at the University of Southern California. His postdoctoral work included autopsy studies of malformed human fetuses in the Center for Human Embryology at the University of Washington, as well as basic science research related to neural crest cell migration in transgenic murine embryos. Raj earned a medical degree and a doctorate in anatomy and cell biology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He teaches Clinical Embryology for the GCGP where he reviews classic human embryology with a heavy emphasis on practical issues that relate specifically to genetic counseling.


Jessica Mandell
Jessica Mandell, M.S., CGC

Jessica Mandell is the genetic counselor and research coordinator for the laboratory of Dr. Mary-Claire King at the University of Washington, guiding over 6,000 high-risk breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer families through research and genetic testing since 1997. Jessica coordinates study enrollment and provides cancer genetic counseling for cancer survivors, gene mutation carriers, and families with suspected but unknown cancer genetic connections. She also provides genetic counseling for individuals enrolling in research for inherited deafness, schizophrenia, lupus, mesothelia, and pentosuria.

Jessica has consulted for Informed Medical Genetics, Inc., a phone-based clinical genetic counseling company providing genetics services to individuals without access to local care. She is a past editor of the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ publication, Perspectives, has presented at numerous scientific and community conferences on topics in genetics and genetic counseling, and was featured in the 2008 documentary, In the Family, following one woman navigating the medical and emotional journey of genetic testing for cancer predisposition. Jessica earned her master's degree in genetic counseling from Sarah Lawrence College.

Jessica has committed her career to promoting the understanding, access and application of genetic testing, genetic counseling, and research to diverse patient populations, medical providers, students, and consumers of all ages. She teaches Research Methods and Design for the GCGP.


Danny Miller
Danny Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Danny Miller is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. His research interests include using long-read sequencing to identify missing disease-causing variations and understanding the impact of genomic variants detected by long-read sequencing. He is also interested in using long-read sequencing as a single clinical test to both increase the rate of genetic diagnosis and decrease the amount of time required to make a genetic diagnosis. Danny earned his medical degree and a doctorate in physiology from the University of Kansas. He teaches Principles of Human and Medical Genetics for the GCGP.


Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson, MPH, Ph.D.

Sarah Nelson is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in the ethical and social implications of genomics in research, clinical care and everyday life. In addition to her clinical instructor position for the Public Health Genetics program, she is a senior research scientist involved with the coordination and implementation of several large-scale NIH genomics research consortia through the UW Genetic Analysis Center. Sarah earned her Master of Public Health and doctorate in public health genetics from the University of Washington. She teaches Legal, Ethical, and Social Issues in Public Health Genetics for the GCGP and Public Health.


Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser
Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser, M.S., CGC

Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser is a laboratory genetic counselor supporting the Cytogenetics and Clinical Genomics Labs at the University of Washington Medical Center. She has 25 years of experience as a genetic counselor, primarily in reproductive and laboratory genetics. Whitney has served on the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Board of Directors and twice on the American Board of Genetic Counseling Practice Analysis Committee. She was awarded the UW Clinical Pathology Staff of the Year award in 2021 in recognition for her outstanding teaching and training of medical residents. Along with her passion for genetics, Whitney finds joy in making music with her husband and friends, birding and gardening. Whitney has a master’s degree in genetics from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of California-Irvine. She teaches Applied Clinical and Laboratory Genetics for the GCGP.


Lauren Puryear
Lauren Puryear, M.S., CGC

Lauren Puryear is a clinical assistant professor in the UW Genetic Counseling Graduate Program and a clinical genetic counselor in the UW adult genetics clinic. Lauren graduated from Stanford University’s Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling program and previously worked as a teacher, trainer and mediator. She teaches Clinical Skills I and II; Advanced Concepts in Genetic Counseling; and Adult Genetics and Common Diseases for the GCGP.


Brad Rolf
Brad Rolf, M.S., CGC
Associate Program Director

Brad Rolf has been a genetic counselor at the University of Washington since 2013. His research interests include polygenic risk, genetic counseling education and genetic counseling for patients who identify as LGBTQ. Before joining the faculty of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, he worked primarily as a research genetic counselor. In this role he coordinated the genetics study of the Therapeutic Pipeline Project, a research project aimed at determining the efficacy of whole-exome sequencing for inherited forms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He also worked on one of the Clinical Sequencing Evidence-Generating Research consortium projects that focused on delivering genetic testing and genetic counseling services for inherited cancer risk to underserved populations. Brad earned a master’s degree in genetic counseling at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He teaches Genetic Counseling Theory and Practice I, II, and III; and Principles of Human and Medical Genetics for the GCGP.


Brian Shirts
Brian Shirts, M.D., Ph.D.

Brian Shirts is an associate professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. In his clinical practice, Brian is part of a team that does clinical testing for many inherited diseases. His research focuses on improving resources for communication about hereditary disease prevention. His research on cascade outreach within families led to the formation of ConnectMyVariant, a non-profit that helps people across the world find and connect others who have the same pathogenic variants. Brian earned his medical degree and doctorate in human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. He is faculty in the Institute for Public Health Genetics and teaches the Biostatistics in Genetic Counseling course with Elizabeth Blue.


Lauren Slevin
Lauren Slevin, M.S., CGC, Ph.D.

Lauren Slevin is a practicing prenatal genetic counselor at Swedish First Hill and Providence Everett Maternal Fetal Medicine. Her clinical interests are centered around reproductive genetics and the psychosocial and cultural aspects of reproductive decision-making. Lauren earned her doctorate in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed by a master’s degree in genetic counseling from California State University, Stanislaus. She teaches Reproductive Genetics for the GCGP.


Jenny Thies
Jenny Thies, M.S., CGC

Jenny Thies is a clinical genetic counselor in the Biochemical Genetics Clinic at Seattle Children's Hospital. She is passionate about education and clinical research in the areas of biochemical genetics, newborn screening and ultrarare disease. Jenny earned her master’s degree in genetic counseling from the University of Oklahoma. She teaches Pediatric and Biochemical Genetics for the GCGP.