Genetic Counseling faculty, staff, and instructors

Program Director

Heather Zierhut, PhD, MS, CGC
612-626-6743 |

Heather Zierhut is the program director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling. Her major area of interest focuses on the education and clinical preparation of Genetic Counseling professionals as well as the implications of genetics and genetic counseling on public health. Dr. Zierhut is also interested in the psychosocial and public implications involved with the provision of genetic counseling services. Her previous research has focused on decision making of parents of children with Fanconi Anemia. Heather’s current research is focused on genetics in public health screening programs and outcomes of genetic counseling. Heather is an active member in the National Society of Genetic Counseling and has been recognized by her peers as a recipient of the New Leader Award in 2009, Outstanding Volunteer and Janus Series speaker in 2014, and Strategic Leader in 2017.

Assistant Program Director

Heewon Lee, MS, CGC 
612-626-3363 |

Heewon Lee

Heewon Lee (she/her) is an assistant professor, assistant program director of the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, and the director of inclusive curriculum and teaching. She received her Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in genetic counseling and worked as a clinical genetic counselor in oncology. Her research interests include gynecologic oncology, adoption, and Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing (DTC-GT). Heewon is a member of the NIH’s Inter-Society Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics (ISCC-PEG) DTC-GT working group, the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) committee, the Minority Genetic Professionals Network, and the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Director for Fieldwork and Supervisory Training

Krista Redlinger-Grosse, PhD, ScM, CGC
612-626-1900 |

Krista Redlinger-Grosse

Krista Redlinger-Grosse currently serves as the Director for Fieldwork and Supervisory Training and Instructor of the second-year course on psychosocial skills and counseling.   She received her Master’s Degree in genetic counseling from the John Hopkins University/National Human Genome Research Institutes Genetic Counseling Training Program.  She worked for 10 years as a clinical genetic counselor in prenatal and metabolic clinics prior to returning to complete her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota.  Her vocational passions center around the integration of the fields of genetic counseling and psychology through clinical work, education/training, and research.  She has published on the topics of self-disclosure, a psychosocial approach to genetic counseling, genetic counseling outcomes, and the Reciprocal Engagement Model of genetic counseling practice. In addition to her roles at the University of Minnesota, Krista also works as a psychologist at LeaderWise, an organization providing assessment and psychotherapy.

Director of Admissions, Associate Director of Research

Ian MacFarlane, PhD
612-301-2789 |

Ian Macfarlane

Dr. MacFarlane is a counseling psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. His primary research interest is professional development, focusing on the role of clinical supervision in the training of genetic counselors. He is also interested in health outcomes, psychological measurement, and social justice advocacy. Dr. MacFarlane has extensive experience supervising graduate and undergraduate research, and has written a text on genetic counseling research methods. He recently served on the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling and has also served on task forces for several major genetic counseling organizations as well as an associate editor for the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Medical Director

Susan Berry, MD
612-624-5965 |

Susan A. Berry, M.D. is Division Director for Genetics and Metabolism in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. She attended Rice University where she received her degree in Biochemistry and the University of Kansas for her Doctor of Medicine degree. She has been at the University of Minnesota since 1978 where she completed her residency in Pediatrics and was a fellow in Medical Genetics. She joined the staff of the Department in 1984 and is currently a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Ophthalmology and Genetics, Cell Biology and Development. She is a member of the Minnesota Department of Health Newborn Screening Advisory Committee, of the Society for Inherited Metabolic Disease, of the American Society of Human Genetics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and of the American College of Medical Genetics. She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and American Board of Medical Genetics.

As a nationally recognized geneticist and expert in inborn errors of metabolism, Dr. Berry sees both child and adult patients for genetic consultation at University of Minnesota Physicians Pediatric Specialty Clinic. She also attends the Pediatric and Adult Metabolic Clinics, providing care for children and adults with inborn errors of metabolism. She also offers her expertise for inpatient consultation and care. Dr. Berry's research focuses on long-term follow up for newborn-screened conditions.

Program Assistant

Abrahm Neuser
612-626-3267 |

Abrahm Neuser

Abrahm Neuser is the program assistant for the University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Program and earned their baccalaureate in Political Science and Global Studies at the University of Minnesota as well. As program coordinator, they support the dynamic administrative needs of the Genetic Counseling Program including clinical rotations, class scheduling & curriculum planning, professional meetings, student support, and the admissions process. Abrahm has extensive experience in social-emotional youth development project management having served as program manager for national organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as well as being part of the Juvenile Justice Advisory group for the District of Columbia.


Meg Eilers, MS, CGC

Meg Eilers received her Master of Science in Medical Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison genetic counseling training program in 1998.  After beginning her genetic counseling career at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, she started working at M Health Fairview Health Services in 2001.  During her career as a clinical genetic counselor, she has worked in a wide variety of general clinical areas, including adult/pediatric oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, and pediatric/adult general genetics.  She also has experience working in several specialty clinical settings, including muscular dystrophy, bleeding disorders, fetal diagnosis/treatment, and metabolism.  While working as a clinical genetic counselor, Meg also has had a variety of roles with the University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Training Program, such as clinical supervisor for fieldwork rotations, lecturer for coursework, and committee member for student research projects.  She currently is heavily involved with both semesters of the "Genetic Counseling Skills and Practice" course for first-year genetic counseling students.  In addition to her clinical work and her work with the genetic counseling training program, Meg also served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association for 2018 and 2019.  

Lynn Schema, MS, CGC

Lynn Schema is a certified, licensed genetic counselor.  She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Graduate Program.  She currently practices as a pediatric genetic counselor at M Health Fairview.  Her clinical specialties include metabolism, cystic fibrosis, and disorders of sex development.  Beginning in Fall 2020, Lynn is the course co-director of the program’s new medical genetics course.  Lynn has re-imagined and designed a new curriculum to better prepare future genetic counselors for their unique role in the healthcare team.

Matt Bower, MS, CGC

Matt Bower is a genetic counselor in the adult neurology clinic and the molecular diagnostics laboratory at University of Minnesota Health.  He is an Oregon native and graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in biology.  Subsequently, he completed his graduate training in genetic counseling at the University of Minnesota.  In clinical practice, he sees patients with Huntington disease, ataxia, and other hereditary movement disorders. In the molecular diagnostics laboratory, he works with an interdisciplinary group to develop and validate next generation sequencing technologies for clinical diagnostics.  Matt is now in his 20th year of teaching the molecular diagnostics rotation for the 1st-year genetic counseling students and also supervises 2nd-year students in the neurology clinic and in an advanced molecular diagnostics rotation. 

Rebecca Tryon, MS, MA, LGC

Rebecca Tryon received her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling and Master of Arts in Bioethics from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and 2019, respectively. She is the current instructor for the “Ethical & Legal Considerations in Medical Genetics & Genetic Counseling” course for the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling. Since 2013, Rebecca has served in various roles in the Genetic Counseling Program, including as a lecturer, research committee member, and clinical preceptor. She is a clinical genetic counselor in the Pediatric Blood & Marrow Transplant Clinic at the M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital. She has prior work experience in metabolism, cardiac genetics, general genetics, and pediatric oncology. She served as President of the Minnesota Genetic Counselors Association (MNGCA) in 2019.  


Past Program Director

Bonnie S. LeRoy, MS, Professor Emerita

Bonnie LeRoy is a Professor Emerita in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota. Bonnie received her MS in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College in New York and she served as the Director of the Graduate Program of Study in Genetic Counseling at the University of Minnesota from 1989-2020.

Bonnie’s teaching and research interests involved the preparation of genetic counseling professionals and the ethical, legal, and professional challenges inherent in genetic counseling practice. She is co-author of Facilitating the Genetic Counseling Process: A Practice Manual, A Guide for Research in Genetic Counseling, and co-editor of Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skills. Bonnie has authored over 70 peer reviewed articles in genetic counseling and she was awarded the Natalie Weissberger Paul Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award by the National Society of Genetic Counselors. She has served as president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the American Board of Genetic Counseling and the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors. She also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Genetic Counseling from 2008 through 2017. 

Bonnie is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and recipient of the “Outstanding Contributions to Post-Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award” at the University of Minnesota and she served as chair of the Licensed Genetic Counselor Advisory Council of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice. 

Past Associate Director for Research

Pat McCarthy Veach, PhD, LP

Pat McCarthy Veach is a Distinguished Teaching Professor Emerita of Educational Psychology, an Instructor in the Department of Genetics, Cell-Biology, and Development, and was Assistant Director of Research in the Genetic Counseling Program at the University of Minnesota until she retired recently in 2020, and a licensed psychologist. She is a recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to Post-Baccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education Award at the university, and recipient of the Minnesota Psychological Association Outstanding Graduate Faculty in Psychology Award. Her teaching and research involve supervision, training and professional development of genetic counselors and other human services professionals. She is co-author of Genetic counseling research: A practical guide, Facilitating the genetic counseling process: A practice manual, and Genetic counseling practice: Advanced concepts and skills. She has authored over 100 book chapters and professional articles. She completed a 10-year appointment as Assistant Editor of the Journal of Genetic Counseling in December 2017.