We currently have three fellows working towards their American Board of Medical Genetics Clinical Molecular Genetics Certification.  Scott Topper, Ghayda Mirzaa, and Yu-Wei Cheng are valued members of our laboratory that work on clinical testing, along with projects of interest to them and the laboratory. 

Scott Topper has a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked in yeast functional genomics and systems biology.  His research investigated dynamic relationships between the proteome and transcriptome as cells respond and adapt to stressful changes in their environment.  As an ABMG Fellow in Clinical Molecular Genetics, his focus is on implementing genomic enrichment and next generation sequencing technologies for large-panel and high-throughput genetic diagnostics.  As part of this effort, he collaborates on designing and developing analytic tools and methods for large clinical datasets, and developing improved workflows to increase lab efficiency.  He also works on exome and whole genome based gene discovery research projects, investigating the genetic basis of novel neurological phenotypes.  

Ghayda Mirzaa recently completed the clinical genetics fellowship at the University of Chicago, and of the pediatrics residency training program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our laboratory has a special focus on the genetics of congenital brain malformations, which is a primary clinical and research interest of hers. Ghayda’s work during the molecular fellowship is directed at learning and assisting in various advanced molecular techniques, including the new avenue of next generation sequencing, implementing new genetic tests, and conducting various translational research projects aimed at increasing the knowledge of the genetic underpinnings of congenital brain anomalies, as well as their genotype-phenotype relationships, that translates into accurate patient diagnoses, and ultimately, improved health care and management.

Yu-Wei Cheng grew up in Taiwan, served two years in military, then came to the United State for Ph.D. study.  Soon after, he did a postdoctoral training with Dr. Francis Barany at Weill Cornell Medical College where he was later promoted to assistant research professor.  His research focused on developing novel microarray and next-generation sequencing tools to identify bio-markers for colorectal cancer prognosis and early detection.  Despite several patents and peer-review articles generated fruitfully, he noticed future career opportunities reside on applying cutting-edge genomic technologies to disease identification.  Thus, in 2011, he was very excited to begin a fellowship at University of Chicago to learn clinical aspects of molecular diagnosis.  His ultimate goal is to direct a diagnostic laboratory, continue exploring technologies for molecular diagnosis, and perform translational researches in constitutional diseases and cancers.s