Genetic Counseling

The genetic counseling team at the Institute of Genomic Medicine (IGM) is a group of highly qualified genetic counselors who specialize in integrating genomic data and clinical information in order to identify and interpret genetic changes and incorporating complex genomic data into clinical care. As part of Columbia's Precision Medicine Initiative, and to support the highest quality delivery of complex genetic information to research participants and families, the team offers interpretation of research-related genetic testing results to IGM members, as well as to investigators and clinicians partnering with IGM.

In addition, the IGM genetic counseling team has expertise in IRB and regulatory guidance, review and development of consent forms and participant materials, training of study coordinators, and database development to support research workflows.

Services of the genetic counseling team should ideally be requested at the outset of the study. However, the IGM genetic counselors are able to advise at any point in study development or implementation.

Forms

Service Request - Genetic Counseling 

Director

Louise Bier, MS, CGC

Director, Genetic Counseling and Clinical Engagement

Education and Training

BA, 2003, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN
MS, 2010, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

Since joining the IGM in 2015, I have supervised the implementation of genomic research protocols across a variety of clinical areas including genetics, neurology/epilepsy, maternal-fetal medicine, and the PICU. As part of these research studies, I am involved in establishing processes for consent, variant interpretation, and database development, and have collaborated with clinicians to develop protocols to return clinically relevant genetic research results. In addition, I am a PI for the New York City Consortium for Precision Medicine, part of the NIH All of Us Research program. I also serve on Columbia’s Genomics IRB, which oversees ethical implementation of all genetic testing research across the University. I hold a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Genetic Counseling in the Department of Medicine at CUIMC.

Contact

701 West 168th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10032
United States

Genetic Counselors

  • Natalie Lippa, MS, CGC

    Lead Genetic Counselor

    Education and Training

    BSc, 2008, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    MSc, 2011, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

    I am the Lead Genetic Counselor at the Institute for Genomic Medicine (IGM) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). I joined IGM when it was founded in 2015. My research interests focus on the precision medicine in the context of epilepsy and other neurological disorders. My roles include patient enrollment, database design and return of results to patients and providers. Additionally, I am involved in variant interpretation, incorporating phenotypic and bioinformatic evidence to arrive at determinations of pathogenicity. I have presented our research at local and national professional meetings and contribute to peer-reviewed journal articles.

    I also hold a faculty appointment as Lecturer within the Department of Medicine at CUIMC. Part of my role as a Lecturer is to develop and supervise Master’s of Genetic Counseling students during their IGM fieldwork rotation.

    Headshot of Natalie Lippa
  • Anya Revah-Politi, MS, CGC

    Genetic Counselor

    Education and Training

    BS, 2004, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
    MS, 2007, Boston University, Boston, MA

    I have been a Research Genetic Counselor at The Institute for Genomic Medicine since its inception in 2015. I am the Lead Counselor in the Diagnostic Sequencing Study of Undiagnosed Disorders. My roles include patient recruitment, interpretation of genomic data, presentation of findings during our multidisciplinary team meetings, and return of results to patients and providers. I am additionally involved in the writing of articles and have presented our findings at institutional, local and national professional meetings. As of 2018, I also serve as the Lead Laboratory Genetic Counselor at the Precision Genomics Laboratory. My roles include the development of policies, procedures, and assays, drafting of genetic testing reports, and being the point of contact for health care providers. I hold a faculty position as Assistant Professor of Genetic Counseling (in Pathology and Cell Biology and in the Institute for Genomic Medicine at CUIMC), and I am actively involved in the training of students enrolled in the Master's Program in Genetic Counseling at CUIMC.

    Headshot of Anya Revah-Politi
  • Halie Holmes, MS, CGC

    Genetic Counselor

    Education and Training

    BS, 2015, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
    MS, 2018, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

    I have the privilege of meeting with families involved in our research at the Institute for Genomic Medicine and bridging the gap between the clinical information gathered by physicians and the genomic information generated by our research. I enroll patients into whole-exome sequencing research studies, curate variants based on genomic data, and collaborate with healthcare providers inside and outside of CUIMC to interpret and explain results of research genetic testing. I hold a faculty position as Lecturer of Genetic Counseling and am involved in the training of students enrolled in the Master's Program in Genetic Counseling at CUIMC.

    Headshot of Halie Holmes
  • Natalie Vena, MS, CGC

    Genetic Counselor

    Education and training

    BS, 2007, University of Connecticut; Storrs, CT
    MS, 2012, Boston University; Boston, MA

    Through a joint position with the Institute of Genomic Medicine and the Division of Nephrology, I serve as a primary resource to patients and physicians regarding genomic research and precision medicine initiatives at CUIMC, and assist in the translation of genomic research into patient care. At IGM, I facilitate participant enrollment into whole exome sequencing research studies, focused on identifying and understanding the underlying genetic causes of diseases. In collaboration with researchers and healthcare providers at CUIMC, I am further involved in variant annotation and curation in the setting of Mendelian diseases, as well as returning genetic test results to patients. I hold a faculty position as Lecturer of Genetic Counseling and am involved in the training of students enrolled in the Master's Program in Genetic Counseling at CUIMC.

    Headshot of Natalie Vena
  • Sulagna (Tina) Kushary, MMSc

    Genetic Counselor

    Education and Training

    BS, 2016, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
    MMSc, 2019, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

    As a genetic counselor, I help both patients and healthcare providers understand the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. My role at the Institute for Genomic Medicine includes enrolling patient families into our whole exome sequencing research studies, aiding in the interpretation of genomic data, and working with healthcare providers both within and outside of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center to help explain the results and implications of research genetic testing.

    Headshot of Sulagna Kushary
  • Jessenia Richardson

    Genetic Research Coordinator

    Education and Training

    BS, 2012, Monroe College, New York, NY

    My passion for improving health outcomes in surrounding communities led my pursuit of a degree in Public Health. As a Genetic Research Coordinator at the Institute for Genomic Medicine, I am part of an amazing team that works to raise awareness about the benefits of medical research. I contribute to the different facets required to implement several research protocols, including the enrollment of patients into our research studies, overseeing enrollment conducted by study personnel from external sites outside of CUIMC, collaborating with outside health care providers and laboratories, as well as sample submission and tracking.

    Headshot of Jessenia Richardson