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 received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Colorado State University, and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University. 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 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, making jam, and fixing broken web links.
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.
Kelly 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 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.
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 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.
Julie Simon earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of San Diego in 2007, and a Masters in Genetic Counseling from the University of California, Irvine in 2010. After graduation, she created the Lysosomal Storage Disorders Program at UCI and worked with graduate students before moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Prior to joining the Genetic Support Foundation, she worked at MultiCare for 6 years expanding their genetics services in oncology, metabolic, and general genetics. Julie also helped pilot the clinical exome testing program. Her other experiences include coordinating outreach programs and managing student interns for future genetic counselors, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
Her interests include cancer genetics, pediatric genetics, metabolic genetics, personalized medicine, and utilization management. In her spare time, with her husband, she enjoys reading, hiking, amateur photography, and playing with their two corgis.
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 career at Mayo Clinic in a multidisciplinary clinic. Amber 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.
Sam Yeung is a code enthusiast, web developer and .Net developer. He has been working for non profit organizations since the start of his career, and also has experience developing enterprise level applications, managing MySQL databases and PHP based e-commerce sites and writing Windows deployment scripts. In his spare time he enjoys basketball, hiking, building personal projects with the latest technologies and playing GWENT with friends.
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 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).
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