Research Thesis

Completion of a research project is a GCMP requirement. The goal of the research project is to (1) learn how to synthesize and critique the research literature; (2) formulate a specific hypothesis and determine an appropriate study design and analysis plan; (3) understand research methodology; and (4) organize research results in a coherent and meaningful manner.

The research project is driven by the interests of the individual student supported by the program faculty and/or clinical supervisors. Starting in the fall of the first year, students take an introductory graduate-level course in Epidemiology where they learn about study design, variables, and analysis. Then, in the spring of the first year, students take the Research Methods for Genetic Counseling course where they are guided in designing their thesis project, choosing a thesis committee, and writing a research proposal. By the end of the first year, students should have an approved thesis project and they can begin the process of obtaining approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). After IRB approval, student can begin collecting, analyzing, and writing the thesis. The research typically begins before the end of the summer.

Examples of recent or current thesis projects include:

Class of 2019

  • Patient experience and barriers with family communication after receiving genomic information from a biobank – Caitlin O’Brien, Class of 2019
  • Clinical presentation of patients with mutations in moderate penetrance genes: A case series – Audrey Morrissette, Class of 2019
  • Utilization of Cell-Free DNA Screening for Single Gene Disorders Seen More Commonly in Offspring of Older Fathers- Taylor Reeve, Class of 2019
  • Counseling BRCA1/BRCA2 Positive Women over the Age of 75 Regarding Risk Reducing Salpingo-Oophorectomy(RRSO): The Perspectives of Genetic Counselors- Amanda Roth, Class of 2019
  • Trends in Reproductive Male Partner Testing When Female Patient is Identified To be A Genetic Disease Carrier – Laurie Simone, Class of 2019
  • Trends in Reimbursement for Reproductive Genetic Counseling by Multiple Payers from 2010-2018 – Francesca Spinosi, Class of 2019

Class of 2020

  • Depression Screening Practices of Prenatal Genetic Counselors – Sarah Belsky, Class of 2020
  • How have perspectives of barriers and motivations for entering the genetic counseling profession changed for underrepresented individuals? – Emily Chien, Class of 2020
  • Motivations of Women Presenting for Updated Breast Cancer Panel Genetic Testing – Jessalyn Gerber, Class of 2020
  • Uptake and outcomes of invasive diagnostic testing for couples or single women at-risk for a recessive or X-linked condition in their offspring and has this changed over time. – Kendall Snyder, Class of 2020
  • Patient Opinions on Prenatal Genetic Testing - Deirdre Sumski, Class of 2020
  • Assessing the Current State of Affairs Surrounding Education on Counseling Direct to Consumer (DTC) Genetic Testing Patients through Surveying Genetic Counseling Program Directors – Erin Swartz, Class of 2020
  • The impact the American Society of Breast Surgeon’s 2019 guideline has had on Genetic Counselors and the number of patients seen with breast cancer. – Jillian Tokarczyk, Class of 2020
  • Comparing Patient Experiences with a Li-Fraumeni syndrome Diagnosis through Different Ascertainment Methods – Julia Weston, Class of 2020