Program Mission

Our mission is to train Laboratory Genetics and Genomics (LGG) fellows to excel in clinical genetic testing by providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to optimally interpret genetic test results, to integrate this information into the context of other clinical information, and to oversee this work in a high-complexity laboratory environment. Training our fellows to effectively communicate the results of genetic tests to healthcare professionals of diverse backgrounds and to teach others about genetic tests are also of paramount importance in attaining our mission.

This two-year, ACGME- and ABMGG-accredited fellowship provides: (a) didactic and hands on experience in laboratory genetics and genomics techniques to aid in the diagnosis of patients referred for testing due to a constitutional, prenatal, or oncology condition; (b) a strong foundation in basic human genetics, medical genetic disorders, and cancer genetics to enable the trainees to use their medical knowledge to make evidence-based decisions; (c) an environment and resources for the trainee to interact with clients with genetic disorders, and offer counseling to them about their genetics/genomics test result(s) in a manner that shows sensitivity for cultural, age, gender and intellectual diversity; (d) training in the management of the laboratory, including knowledge of quality control methodology and knowledge of/compliance with state and federal regulations; (e) training to develop effective listening, verbal, and written communication skills; (f) an environment that emphasizes professionalism and a commitment to ethical principles, with a special focus on maintaining confidentiality of patient information; (g) interactions with a variety of other health care professionals to enable the trainees to learn system complexities and approaches for working effectively with others; (h) models of cost-effective lab test utilization that does not compromise quality of care; and (i) training, as well as an environment to prepare the fellows for conducting/collaborating in translational research within the clinical setting.

How to Apply

Recruitment Status: We do not currently have any positions available (2020 to 2022 training period). However, we will accept applications for 2 positions for the July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024 cycle.

Application Dates: We will start reviewing applications for the 2022 -2024 training cycle in August of 2021, and new applications will be accepted until the two positions are filled.

Eligibility Requirements: Candidates must have a PhD in a biological science or have an MD and completed a residency program in either Pathology or Medical Genetics. Candidates having experience working in the field of diagnostic genetic testing/counseling are preferred.  Individuals who have a doctorate (PhD) earned outside of the United States are required to submit a letter of approval from the ABMGG certifying their eligibility for the training program and ability to sit for the certification exam.

Application materials: A one-page personal statement describing your interest in LGG fellowship training; a detailed curriculum vitae (CV); and three (3) letters of recommendation.

Application materials should be emailed to: 

Jennifer Foley, BS
LGG Program Coordinator
Department of Pathology
Email: jennifer.dewitt@vcuhealth.org

 

VCUHealth LGG Application (PDF) ABMGG website

 

Program Director: Colleen Jackson-Cook, PhD, FFACMGG
Email: colleen.jackson-cook@vcuhealth.org
Phone: 804-628-2992

Associate Program Director: Scott Turner, PhD, FACMGG
Email: scott.turner@vcuhealth.org               
            

Program Coordinator: Jennifer Foley, BS             
Email address: jennifer.dewitt@vcuhealth.org
Phone: 804-828-9465

Our LGG fellows are employees of the hospital and receive salary and benefits commensurate with guidelines established by the VCUHS GME office and national guidelines.

Meet our current Laboratory Genetics and Genomics Fellows

Aida Catic, PhD

Aida Catic, PhD

Burch International University in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Aida Catic, PhD

Aida Catic, PhD

Burch International University in Sarajevo, Bosnia

Pathology

Hometown: Gacko (small town) in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Undergrad School: Loyola University
Graduate School: Burch International University in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Hobbies: Running, cooking and baking with my family. Traveling and exploring new cultures.

Email: Aida.Catic@vcuhealth.org

Kelly Rafferty, PhD, MS CGC

Kelly Rafferty, PhD, MS CGC

Virginia Commonwealth University

Kelly Rafferty, PhD, MS CGC

Kelly Rafferty, PhD, MS CGC

Virginia Commonwealth University

Pathology

Hometown: Mendham, New Jersey
Undergrad School: University of Richmond
Graduate School: Virginia Commonwealth University
Hobbies: Jewelry Design

Email: Kelly.Rafferty@vcuhealth.org

 

Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions

Program & Life

 

Wendy Golden, PhD – University of Virginia (retired)
Lousie Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Cynthia Morton, PhD – Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
M. Catherine “Katy” Phelan, PhD – Florida Cancer Specialists
Arthur Brothman, PhD - University of Arizona Health Sciences
Colleen Jackson-Cook, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University
Georgia Chenevix-Trench, PhD – Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia
Kris May, PhD – Children’s Hospital at Erlanger Health System
Finley Austin, PhD – Founder at RxDx Experts
Lisa Shaffer, PhD – DBA Paw Print Genetics
Jim Harty, MD, PhD
Debra Boles, PhD – Quest Diagnostics
Julie Zenger-Hain, PhD - Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, Michigan
Beth Torchia, PhD - Allele Diagnostics
Bing Huang, PhD - LabCorp
Ying Zou, MD, PhD – Johns Hopkins University
Melanie Jones, PhD - Myriad Genetics
Jennifer Winters, PhD - Sentara Hospital, Virginia Beach, Va
Caroline Astbury, PhD -    Cleveland Clinic
Arlene D’Aliesio Buller, PhD – Quest Diagnostics
Nurcan Gursoy, MD, PhD – Renaissance School of Medicine; Stony Brook University
Natalia Leach, PhD - LabCorp
Catherine Rehder, PhD - Duke University
Paulie Papavassiliou-Bajic, MD, PhD - Northside Hospital, Riverdale, GA, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Atlanta
Jane Juusola, PhD – Gene Dx
Kimberly Haydu Jones, PhD - Neodiagnostix
Jenni Brumelle  Vu, PhD
Chariyawan Charalsawadi, MD, PhD - Prince of Songkla University, Songkla, Thailand
Noran Aboalela, PhD - King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Lei Zhang, PhD- Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City
Ekaterini Iordanou, PhD - Dayton Children’s Hospital
Shivani Ponnala Golem, PhD - University of Kansas Medical Center
Andreea Popa, PhD – Yale University
Areej Alaheeri, PhD – King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Chen Yang, PhD – University of Michigan

LGG Fellowship Application (pdf)

 

About Richmond

We encourage our trainees to maintain a healthy, balanced life, and Richmond is a wonderful place to engage in that well-rounded lifestyle. As the capital of Virginia since 1779, Richmond attracts students, faculty and staff from around the globe. The city’s location affords easy day trips to destinations like Washington, D.C., Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge Mountains, among others.

As a mid-sized city with a metropolitan population of 1.3 million, Richmond provides stimulating activities while maintaining its intimate feel and unique vibe. Vibrant neighborhoods offer distinct, diverse experiences, with no shortage of art galleries, museums, music venues, restaurants, breweries and parks. For the outdoor enthusiast, you can’t beat the offerings in the city’s riverfront parks and urban wilderness areas such as white-water rafting, hiking, mountain biking and cultural festivals.

Learn more about our community