The Genioz team includes people working in different areas of genomics, education, counselling and communication worldwide, plus an advisory board. Numerous students also focus on specific areas in more detail as part of their research projects.

The Genioz team

Professor Sylvia Metcalfe
Lead Investigator

Sylvia has a biochemistry research background, having worked in London, New York and Melbourne. Since 1997 her research interest moved away from the laboratory to include understanding of genetics by the community and health professionals, especially in terms of the societal and personal implications of genetic technologies, genetic screening and testing, and the impact of genetic diagnoses. She has authored more than a 100 peer-reviewed publications. She teaches human genetics to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate students at The University of Melbourne, as well as providing continuing professional development nationally and internationally. She has produced a wide range of educational materials, comprising multimedia, print and online resources. Her current research interest is in understanding the social implications of genetic and genomic testing and to inform the education of health professionals and the community as a whole.
Associate Professor Ainsley Newson
Chief Investigator
Ainsley is originally from Melbourne, but now lives in Sydney – having spent almost a decade living and working in the UK in-between. Ainsley has had a love affair with all things genetics since picking up a biology textbook aged 15. Although she knew she wanted to work in bioethics, she also thought it would be important to have some knowledge of the science of genetics and what it was like to work in this area. So, she enrolled in a combined Science/Law degree and spent a year in a molecular genetics laboratory before doing a PhD in Bioethics. Ainsley now works as Associate Professor in Bioethics at the University of Sydney, where she leads the Sydney Bioethics Program. She has research projects focusing on genomics, as well ethics and organ donation. You can find out more about Ainsley's work here: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/people/academics/profiles/ainsley.newson.php.
Dr Kathleen Gray
Chief Investigator
Kathleen is a Senior Research Fellow in The University of Melbourne's Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre, and the coordinator of the university's postgraduate programs in ehealth and biomedical informatics. She holds a PhD in Science and Education from The University of Melbourne, as well as Masters degrees in Library and Information Science from the University of British Columbia, and Environmental Science from Monash University. She is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics and an active member of the Health Informatics Society of Australia and Health Libraries Australia. Her research interests include: patients' and citizens' use of Internet technologies for health information and communication; influences of the Internet on health workforce professional learning and development; and conceptual frameworks for understanding and evaluating the effects of the Internet on health service provision.
Bronwyn Terrill
Partner Investigator
Bronwyn is an educator and science communicator currently living in Sydney. She has been talking about genetics, genomics and molecular biology for more than 20 years to just about anyone who'll listen. Bronwyn has worked in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia in research institutes, museums and science centres. She has a science background but decided early that she was better at talking than doing, so she added degrees in science education, technical writing and scientific communication. Bronwyn likes to work with different people and different media, so she dabbles in anything from online serious games to simple hands-on activities. At the moment she's particularly interested in what makes someone 'genomically-literate'. Bronwyn coordinates genomics education programs for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney. You can find out more about her background and current projects.

Associate Professor Clara Gaff
Partner Investigator
Clara is Executive Director of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance. The Alliance brings together 10 leading hospitals and research organisations to overcome the challenges of integrating genomics into everyday healthcare. Clara has been involved in the use of genetics and genomics in health care for more than 20 years, through roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK. She has worked in public health, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors. Clara also sits on the Australian Genomics Health Alliance National Steering Committee and co-leads its Education and Workforce Development Program. An Honorary Principal Research Fellow in the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics at The University of Melbourne, Clara holds a PhD in molecular genetics, certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation.


Dr Anna Middleton
Partner Investigator
Anna is from Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She has a lifelong interest in how people are inspired, curious or connected to genetic information. She started her career as a genetic counsellor and through this has worked with many families affected by, and at risk from, various genetic conditions. She now works as a researcher studying what genetics means to people and how they want to use genetic technologies. Anna's PhD is in psychology and genetics and she really likes designing research that is engaging and fun to participate in. At the moment Anna has a particular obsession with how film and animation can be used to get people talking about genetics. She runs the GenomEthics project and you can find out more about her work here: www.annamiddleton.info.
Professor Brenda Wilson
Partner Investigator
Brenda is based in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Canada. She trained as a doctor and worked in public health in Scotland before moving into research about genetics. Her main interest is in working out how to use all of the discoveries in genetic science in ways that are beneficial. This means asking questions about whether new, genome-based tests and technologies actually work, whether they make a difference, and how we actually make sure they're used well. This includes the question of whether they are a good use of our precious health care resources. Brenda believes the starting point to this research always has to be what real people think – about how they value genetic information – and their concerns, and how it might make a difference in their own lives. For example, her recent work in Canada suggests that using concrete examples, people are very adept at working out whether new genetic information would make a difference to their own health decision making.
Dr Jacqueline Savard
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jacqueline is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney. She is originally from Canada and completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta. However, she has lived and worked in Australia for over ten years. Jacqueline's interests stem from a fascination and love of science, particularly with DNA – from what it is to what it can tell us about ourselves. However, while science can tell us some of the story, Jacqueline felt there was a divide between what we can learn about in the laboratory/clinic and how we understand and use this knowledge in the context of our everyday lives. To understand this divide, she completed her Master of Bioethics (Honours) at the University of Sydney in 2009 where her Honours thesis focused on genetic testing for ethnic ancestry. In 2016, Jacqueline completed her PhD in bioethics. Her thesis was the first empirical research in Australia to explore Australian consumers' knowledge, attitudes and experiences of direct-to-consumer personal genome testing. Her research interests include the ethics of new genetic technologies, particularly direct-to-consumer personal genome testing, whole genome/exome sequencing in the clinical and commercial domains and the use and impact of genetic information in daily life.

Chriselle Hickerton
Research Assistant
Chriselle currently lives in Melbourne. After many years of working in the disability field in various capacities she decided she was looking for something different. A return to study ignited an interested in genetics and genetic counselling. She completed a Masters in Genetic Counselling at The University of Melbourne in 2007 and has worked in research at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute since, as a research assistant and research genetic counsellor. Chriselle is also a Tutor at The University of Melbourne for the undergraduate subject "Genetics, Health and Society". Her work has included: exploring the 'lived experience' and impact of genetic conditions and genetic testing, especially in prenatal and carrier screening settings; recruiting families for studies aimed at reducing the 'diagnostic odyssey' and improving genetic testing methods; and in understanding the societal impact of new genomic technologies.
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