Leadership and Faculty
Gretchen Schneider is a graduate of Colgate University and earned a master's in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in 1992. She began her career at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she coordinated the neurofibromatosis program and saw patients in the General Genetics Clinic. In 1999, she joined a new genetics initiative through Partners HealthCare, where she transitioned from patient care to genetic education, serving as assistant director of educational activities before joining the Brandeis faculty in 2008.
Schneider has been involved with the genetic counseling program since its inception, first as a clinical supervisor, thesis committee member and lecturer, and later as co-director of clinical training. In her role as program director, she oversees first-year fieldwork, coordinates a course on laboratory testing, co-teaches Clinical Genetics II (BIOL 220a); works with second-year students on professional development and servies as a thesis adviser.
Schneider is a founding member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration (Licensure) of Genetic Counselors, serves on the American Board of Genetic Counseling Exam Eligibility Task Force and is a member of the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors, where she served on the Nominating Committee and the Clinical Training Work Group. She has a long-standing interest in promoting genetic counseling as a profession and has presented to local high school students on genetic counseling as a career, spoken on “The Modern Era of Genomic Testing” during the Brandeis University Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine, participated in a Life Sciences Career Panel for graduate and undergraduate students at Brandeis, and contributed to a panel discussion on applying to graduate school at the Northeast regional conference of SACNAS, an organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in science.
Hetal Vig earned master's in both human genetics genetic counseling from the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore. She has worked in clinical cancer genetics for nearly two decades. Her previous roles include genetic counselor and associate director of the gastrointestinal risk assessment program at Fox Chase Cancer Center; genetic counselor manager at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; clinical assistant professor of medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and senior genetic counselor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
As associate program director at Brandeis' genetic counseling program, Vig's roles include teaching Introduction to Genetic Counseling (BIOL 202d); managing all aspects of first-year observations and second-year student internships; and advising student thesis projects. As a member of the Executive Leadership committee at Rutgers University, she was involved in the development of the new Rutgers master’s of genetic counseling graduate program. She also served as course director for clinical cancer genetic courses at both Rutgers and Arcadia University.
Vig has served as a program review member at the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling; as a member of both the Alternative Service Delivery and Pathways to Genetic Counselor task forces at the National Society of Genetic Counselors; and as a professional advisory board member at the Cancer Support Community of Central New Jersey. In addition to her clinical and education experience, Vig has a long-standing research interest in innovative genetic counseling service delivery models, which have resulted in peer-reviewed publications.
Joan Stoler is a board-certified clinical geneticist, with expertise in areas including dysmorphology, teratogenic exposures, connective tissue disorders and craniosynostoses. She currently serves as assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and as a staff physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she see patients in the General Genetics, Cleft Lip and Palate, and Craniofacial clinics. She is also director of both the Harvard Medical School genetics training program and medical genetics residency; serves on the board of directors of the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics; and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Genetics.
Stoler is a graduate of Brandeis University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology, and Columbia University Medical School. She joined the Brandeis genetic counseling program in 2002 as medical director and co-teacher of the two-semester Clinical Genetics course.
Cassie Buck, a 2009 graduate of the genetic counseling program, began her career working for a genetic testing laboratory before leaving to work in an academia as a research counselor and study coordinator. In that role, she met with patients and their families with reproductive disorders to enroll them into genomic research; collect phenotypic and family history data; and expand family participation, while also collecting and reviewing data for manuscript preparation and overseeing IRB compliance. In her current role as research adviser, Buck oversees students’ master’s thesis projects and research training. She meets individually with first-year GC students in the spring to develop their thesis and teach Genetic Counseling Research II (BIOL 213b), which begins in the summer after the first year and continues through the second year.
Nikkola Carmichael is a 2013 graduate of the university's genetic counseling program. In addition to her work as a lecturer at Brandeis, where she teaches Human Genetics to first-year genetic counseling master's students and undergraduates, she works at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Division of Respiratory Diseases. The bulk of her time is devoted to research initiatives aimed at identifying new genetic etiologies and treatments for pulmonary disorders such as bronchiectasis and interstitial lung disease. Clinically, Carmichael sees patients with pulmonary disorders at both Children’s and in the adult Pulmonary Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In addition, she is pursuing a PhD in health professions education at Simmons University; her dissertation will investigate the training experiences of genetic counseling students who identify as racial and ethnic minorities.
A 1996 graduate of Brandeis' genetic counseling program, Judy Jackson has spent many years as a clinic-based prenatal genetic counselor in different settings throughout the Boston area. In addition to her full-time clinical genetic counseling position at South Shore Hospital, she teaches Human Reproductive and Development Biology (BIOL 160b) to first-year Brandeis GC students and undergraduates. Jackson is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and former chair of the Genetic Counseling special interest group at the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis.
Alice Noble teaches Genetics, Law and Social Policy (BIOL 236b) to the first- and second-year genetic counseling students. In addition, she teaches Health Law and Ethics (HS 357f) at the Heller School, and Genetics, Law and Society (LGLS 149b) in the legal studies program. Noble, who holds a law degree from Villanova University and an MPH from Harvard University, is also on the faculty at Boston College Law School and Tufts University School of Medicine. Prior to teaching at Brandeis, she taught at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Terri Queler, who joined the genetic counseling program in 2016, teaches Counseling Theory and Technique (BIOL 205b) to first-year GC students and Genetic Counseling: Case Conferences and Family Counseling (BIOL 207a) to the second-year students. She has a private practice in Newton, Massachusetts, where her primary focus includes perinatal health and wellness; couples; and college mental health. The practice includes a full range of treatment approaches, including individual, couples and group counseling.
Judith Tsipis began her career at Brandeis more than 40 years ago as an instructor for undergraduates in the biology department and as a pre-med adviser. In 1992, she became founding director of the master's program in genetic counseling. Since that time, Tsipis has taught and mentored many students while working with faculty to ensure the success of both the program and its graduates. She has worked to promote the genetic counseling profession within the local and national communities and has been actively involved in the advocacy community in many ways. Tsipis holds a PhD in microbiology and genetics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Rachel Woodruff is a full-time faculty member in the biology department, where she teaches undergraduate genetics and cancer biology as well as Molecular Biotechnology (BIOL 101a) for first-year GC students and advanced undergraduates. She holds a PhD in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, prior to coming to Brandeis, taught biology at MIT and biochemistry at Suffolk University.