The VariantWire Committee is comprised of one member from each participating entity. Their role is to guide the data sharing policies and review applications from laboratories seeking to join the network.
Meet Our Committee Members
Heidi Rehm, Ph.D., FACMG, Chief Laboratory Director
Heidi Rehm is the Director of the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine at Partners Healthcare Personalized Medicine and Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Her lab focuses on the translation of new genetic discoveries and technologies into clinical tests that can be used to improve patient outcomes, supporting the model of personalized medicine. She also conducts research in hearing loss, Usher syndrome, genomic medicine, and healthcare IT.
Lisa Edelmann, Ph.D., FACMG, Director, Molecular Genetics & Cytogenetics / Cytogenomics
Dr. Edelmann received her B.S. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from The Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Edelmann is certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and Clinical Cytogenetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMG).
Jordan Lerner-Ellis, Ph.D., FACMG, Director and Head, Advanced Molecular Diagnostics
Dr. Jordan Lerner-Ellis is a molecular geneticist who serves as Head of Advanced Molecular Diagnostics at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. His laboratory provides clinical diagnostic services for hereditary breast, ovarian and colon cancer, and other genetic testing areas, for downtown Toronto and the province of Ontario. His core interest is the application of molecular diagnostics to breast and colon cancer. His research is focused on providing major improvements in the clinical sensitivity of genetic testing through greater reliance on new sequencing technologies.
Matthew Lebo, Ph.D., FACMG, Co-Principle Investigator for COGR
Matthew Lebo, PhD joined Partners Personalized Medicine as an Assistant Laboratory Director for the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine in 2011 after completing his ABMG molecular genetics fellowship training at the Harvard Medical School Genetics Training Program. In the fall of 2013 Dr. Lebo became the head of Bioinformatics at Partners Personalized Medicine.
Olga Jarinova, Ph.D., FCCMG, Associate Head, Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory (Molecular Genomics)
Dr. Jarinova is a Molecular Geneticist in the Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at the Ottawa Heart Institute and CHEO, she obtained board certification in Molecular Genetics from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists in 2012. Dr. Jarinova has been instrumental in expanding cardiovascular genetic testing services and introducing Next Generation Sequencing in the CHEO’s Genetics Diagnostic Laboratory.
Mohammad R. Akbari, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Dr. Akbari is an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Institute of Medical Scince, University of Toronto (U of T), and a scientist at Womens College Research Institute (WCRI), Womens College Hospital (WCH). Dr. Akbari's research interest is in studying genetic susceptibility to cancers, including breast, ovarian, esophageal, Colon, pancreas and prostate cancers. This includes identifying new genes responsible for hereditary cancers, defining the role of known cancer genes, and individualizing cancer treatments for patients carrying a genetic mutation.
Matthew Bower, MS, Certified Genetic Counselor
Matt Bower is a genetic counselor in the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory and the adult neurology clinic at University of Minnesota Health. Matt graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BS in biology and completed his graduate training in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota. During his time at the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, he has helped to transform the testing menu from Sanger sequencing of 6 genes to next generation sequencing of more than 2500 genes. In parallel, the lab has developed next generation sequencing based tumor testing. This has been a collaborative effort involving clinicians at University of Minnesota Health, scientists at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center, and informaticists at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. This collaborative group is now focused on expanding the targeted inherited disease menu to more than 3000 genomes, validating an exome sequencing platform, and expanding tumor testing options.
Jason Walker, PhD, MDxT (AAB), Lead Geneticist
Jason Walker received his PhD in Genetics from Yale University in 2008 and began working in the Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (BioMMed) at the LSU-School of Veterinary Medicine. Concurrently Dr. Walker served as Assistant Director of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Core for the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network, and served as a coordinator for the NIH-funded Center of Biological Research Excellence at LSU-SVM. In 2013 he joined MedComp Sciences, LLC. in Zachary, Louisiana as Lead Geneticist, and in the spring of 2015 helped launch MedCompGx, LLC. MedCompGx provides molecular genetic testing services to the medical community and is located at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.
Julie Gastier-Foster, PhD, FACMG, Senior Director, The Institute for Genomic Medicine Clinical Laboratory
Dr. Gastier-Foster received her doctoral degree from the Harvard Medical School. She completed her Medical Genetics fellowship at the Stanford University Medical School. Her areas of responsibility include Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics, COG ALL Molecular Reference Laboratory, COG Neuroblastoma Reference Laboratory, Cooperative Group Banking for Leukemia and the NCI Center for Cancer Genomics Biospecimen Core Resource.
Magalie Sophie Leduc, PhD, Assistant Laboratory Director Baylor Genetics
Magalie Leduc received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She joined the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories at Baylor College of Medicine in 2012 as a clinical exome analyst while holding an assistant professor position in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics. She became Assistant Laboratory Director at Baylor Genetics in 2016. She is also the primary clinical genomic analyst for eMERGE at the Human Genome Sequencing Center Clinical Laboratories at Baylor College of Medicine.
Samantha Baxter, MS, Licensed Genetic Counselor, Director of VariantWire
Samantha is the clinical project manager at the Broad Institute’s Center for Mendelian Genomics. She is a genetic counselor who has worked in the area of cardiovascular genetics and now focuses on the management and sharing of both clinical and genomic data.