Jon Wolff, MD: President & Founder

Jon Wolff - President and Executive Director Jon Wolff received his undergraduate education in chemistry as a College Scholar at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and received his M.D. from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He received his clinical training at the University of California-San Diego in Pediatrics and Medical Genetics under the tutelage of William Nyhan. While in San Diego, he was also a post-doctoral fellow at the Agouron Institute, where he developed molecular dynamic computer simulations to aid rational drug design. In 1988, he became an assistant professor of pediatrics and medical genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and eventually achieved full professorship. He then went on to become the head of the Division of Medical Genetics. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and is involved in genetic counseling education there.

As a physician-scientist, he has published several clinical studies describing diagnostic and therapeutic advances that have become the standard-of-care for several genetic disorders. He has also served as adviser on the State of Wisconsin’s Newborn Screening Program which has spearheaded innovative programs for detecting metabolic disorders and cystic fibrosis in newborns. He also led the Medical Genetics course for medical students and implemented new molecular modules in the course. Noteworthy is the way he innovated medical genetic education by bringing patients and families with genetic conditions into the classroom, an approach that is being adopted more broadly in other courses.

Jon Wolff was one of the pioneers in the early stages of gene therapy back in the 1980s, playing an important role in developing gene therapy for liver and brain disorders. Subsequently, he has played a leading role in the development of techniques to transfer genes and nucleic acids into cells using physical and chemical methods. Dr. Wolff and his colleagues discovered the benefits of injecting naked DNA into muscle, which led to the development of genetic vaccines. Wolff’s laboratory then found that the intravascular delivery of naked nucleic acids (hydrodynamic delivery) enables increases by several orders of magnitude in delivery efficiency, especially to the liver and muscle. He has over 150 scientific publications and 80 patents. He has served on the NIH-RAC, as a board member of the American Society of Gene Therapy (ASGT), on the editorial board of several gene/siRNA therapy journals, and as a scientific advisor to the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM).

In 1995, he and his colleagues founded MirusBio Corporation, situated at the University Research Park in Madison, WI. At Mirus he lead a team that developed dynamic polyconjugates (DPCs), a new type of nanotechnology for transferring siRNA into cells of the body. The therapeutics division of Mirus Bio was acquired by Roche to form Roche Madison in October, 2008, and this division was subsequently acquired by Arrowhead Research Corporation.

Jon Wolff and his wife have four grown children, with whom he shares his enthusiasm for skiing and bicycling.

 

Katie Stoll, MS, CGC: Director of Clinical Services

Katie-Stoll - Director of Clinical ServicesKatie Stoll received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Colorado State University in 1998, and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University in 2003. She brings a diversity of clinical experience in the areas of prenatal, cancer, adult, and pediatric genetics.  She has worked in a variety of settings including military healthcare systems, health maintenance organizations, community hospitals, outpatient clinics, and research.

Katie has been an active contributor to the profession of genetic counseling through her work with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and participation in various projects developing educational tools for patients and providers regarding prenatal genetic tests.

At Genetic Support Foundation, Katie is focused on developing resources and programs to expand the availability of quality information about genetics, and to improve access to genetic counseling services.  She is especially interested in the intersection of genetics  with primary care.  She is excited about identifying innovative ways to engage with patients and healthcare providers through telehealth, grassroots outreach, and education.  Katie lives with her husband and two kids in Washington State.  She loves gardening, kid’s weekend soccer games, and camping in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

 

Amanda Mackison: Director of Operations

Amanda Mackison - Program Coordinator

Amanda Mackison received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Whitman College in 1997, and her Masters of Public Policy from Georgetown University in 2003. She worked as a Senior Analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office for the Education, Workforce, and Income Security Division in Washington, DC, and Boston, MA. In this role, she conducted audits of federal agencies and prepared audit reports on behalf of the U.S. Congress. Most recently she took a few years off to raise a family. Amanda lives in Washington state with her husband and three children. In her spare time she enjoys reading, baking, and making jam.

 

Genetic Counselors

 

Austin McKittrick, MS, CGC: Lead Genetic Counselor

Austin McKittrick - Genetic Counselor

Austin McKittrick hails from the plains of South Dakota. He migrated to Colorado to get his Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication and in Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado. After a lengthy academic break spent working primarily in healthcare, he enrolled in the genetic counseling program at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and graduated in 2014. Prior to starting at Genetic Support Foundation, he worked in prenatal genetics for Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. Other areas of interest are cancer, education, fertility, personalized medicine, and pharmacogenomics.

Austin joined the Genetic Support Foundation in March of 2016 because he was inspired by the organization’s mission statement, and identified with the observation that there is a gap in information and education between the genetics community and providers and patients. With genetics being such a broad field, he appreciates the opportunities that the Genetic Support Foundation can offer to do work with many different areas.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking, playing kickball and volleyball, camping, going to the beach, and probably watching way too much TV.

 

Amber Volk, MS, CGC

Amber Volk received her bachelor of science in genetics, cell biology and development from the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation, Amber began a diverse career in the technical service and sale of various genetic technologies in the molecular and diagnostic laboratory space. Continually drawn to the field of genetic counseling, Amber left industry with a desire to assist patients in understanding and interpreting their own genomic information. Amber obtained her master’s degrees, one in genetic counseling, the other in medical humanities and bioethics, from Northwestern University and began her carrier at Mayo Clinic in a multidisciplinary clinic. As her passion for women’s health increased, she helped create & transition into a role in the prenatal, reproductive endocrinology & gynecologic cancer realm. She was drawn out of clinic by an opportunity to again work for industry, and while a great experience learning and understanding the nuances of technology, telemedicine and education, Amber missed direct patient care. She left industry and is currently providing direct patient care services, both in person and through telehealth, in the Midwest.

Beyond patient care, Amber enjoys providing education through blog posts, publication, or lectures, on genetics and surrounding ethical issues. Interests include the ethics surrounding genetics, helping patients negotiate the vast array of genetic testing options available, as well as the interpretation of genetic information upon receipt of direct to consumer genetic test results. Outside of clinic, Amber enjoys anything outdoors and stays active running, hiking, and cycling.

Amber is excited to join Genetic Support Foundation as she identifies with the great need for unbiased genetic counseling services, available to assist all patients – from education of providers and patients, to assisting patients integrate their desire for genetic information with their personal values, beliefs and goals.

 

Kelly Donahue, MS, CGC: Genetic Counselor

Kelly Donahue CGC: Genetic CounselorKelly Donahue received her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, and her master’s degree in genetic counseling from University of Pittsburgh. She has more than 20 years of experience in prenatal genetics and is passionate about providing information and counseling that empowers patients to make decisions about prenatal testing that are consistent with their personal needs and values. In addition to her experience in the clinical setting, Kelly has worked in the molecular laboratory setting and brings a depth of understanding regarding the potential benefits, drawbacks and limitations of new molecular technologies. Kelly has given numerous invited presentations on topics related to prenatal genetics. She is an active volunteer with the American Board of Genetic Counseling and also provides leadership and support to the University of Pittsburgh genetic counseling training program.

 

Jennifer Eichmeyer, MS, CGC: Genetic Counselor

Jen Eichmeyer CGC: Genetic CounselorJennifer Eichmeyer has been a genetic counselor for the past 15 years serving in prenatal, pediatric, and oncology subspecialties. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Iowa State University and her Masters in Genetic Counseling at the University of Texas at Houston. She established the first cancer genetic counseling clinic for the state of Idaho in 2004 and subsequently lead a team of 3 full time genetic counselors staffing 6 sites across the state. Jennifer has been heavily involved in expanding genetic services in the state of Idaho through the development of a High Risk Breast Clinic, NICU genetics, implementation of universal screening for Lynch syndrome, launching telehealth genetic counseling services, and developing a chart review program that helps identify patients needing genetic counseling. She co-chaired a project to improve oncofertility referrals, and was involved in successfully getting state licensure for genetic counselors passed in the legislature. She has collaborated with other health care providers to bring pharmacogenetic testing to oncology patients. She has received numerous awards including the the ACCCP Innovator award in 2013, St. Luke’s President’s award in 2014, and the ISCO Thomas M. Beck recognition award in 2016. Jennifer continues to be interested using the unique skill set of genetics professionals in non-traditional ways to improve access and understand of genetic information.

 

Ben Helm, MS, CGC: Genetic Counselor
Benjamin is a board-certified genetic counselor with significant experience in pediatrics, rare diseases, metabolism, and general clinical genetics. He currently specializes in pediatric and adult cardiovascular genetics and has special interests in inherited arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, congenital heart defects, and familial hypercholesterolemia. He enjoys writing and research and has published peer-reviewed papers and is a contributor to Genome Magazine. Ben is greatly interested in genetics education and outreach and has an interest in bettering service delivery and access to genetic counseling expertise.

 

Amy B. Kunz, MS, CGC: Genetic Counselor
Amy Kunz - Genetic CounselorAmy Kunz received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in 2012 and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 2016. In addition to her role at Genetic Support Foundation, Amy works as a clinical genetic counselor in the Cancer Genetics Program at Allegheny Health Network, a large healthcare system servicing Western Pennsylvania. Prior to entering the field of genetic counseling, she spent time researching the epigenetic pathology behind phenylketonuria and other classical metabolic diseases. She resides in Pittsburgh with her husband, and in her spare time she enjoys running, hiking outdoors, and painting.

 

Administrative

 

Valerie Kruger
Valerie Kruger
Valerie recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a major in biology and is currently applying for genetic counseling programs. She enjoys research projects and has been working to fill in the microdeletion and microduplication section of the Genetic Support Foundation website. Aside from work with GSF, Valerie also works at a women’s shelter in Bremerton. Valerie hopes to continue her work with the Genetic Support Foundation in some form while she is in graduate school.

 

Nicky Wolff
Nicky Wolff
Nicky Wolff received his Bachelor of Arts from Lewis and Clark College with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During college he worked in a lab doing bioinformatic research on the evolution of spider venom proteins. Since graduating his interests have changed from pure science to applying his education in a practical way. While he is currently applying to a MBA program he is working at GSF to increase the usability and accessibility of tools for genetic counselors.

 

Contributors

Heidi Lindh, MS, CGC

As a founder of GSF, Heidi Lindh  has contributed significantly to laying the foundation for the organization.  She was instrumental in the development of the website content, resources and educational tools produced by GSF.  Heidi is a board-certified genetic counselor with over 10 years of clinical experience. She graduated with a BA in biology from Gustavus Adolphus College, summa cum laude, in 1998. After undergrad, she spent an internship year at the National Institutes of Health doing clinical research on the genetics of rheumatoid arthritis with the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Heidi earned her master’s degree in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota in 2001. Her areas of genetic counseling expertise include prenatal genetics and inborn errors of metabolism. She has been published in Genetics in Medicine and the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Megan Frone, MS, CGC

Megan Frone has contributed her expertise in the area of cancer genetics to the development of the educational content on the GSF website. She received her Bachelors of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton in 2008. She received her Masters in Genetic Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, where she also was a graduate from the Virginia Leadership in Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (VA-LEND). Megan currently works at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) where she works in research whole exome sequencing initiatives as well as clinical genetics in several rare disease programs. Prior to working at the NIH, Megan worked in the Adult and Pediatric Cancer Genetics programs at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. Megan is also the co-chair of the Health Information Technology SIG and co-Chair of the Pediatric Cancer Subcommittee of the Cancer Special Interest Group for the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).

 

 

Board of Directors 

Jon Wolff, MD: President & Founder, Genetic Support Foundation, Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine

Dan Bellissimo, PhD: Co-Director Clinical Genomics Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh

Jim Hagstrom, PhD: President of Mirus Bio LLC

Mark Johnson, JD