MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Thesis/Research Project

Students are expected to propose and complete a clinically-oriented or laboratory based research question that includes study design, collection of data (where applicable), data analysis, and a written thesis. Projects are developed during the Approaches to Research course work. A written thesis in publication ready format and an oral defense of the thesis are required for graduation. Over 75% of the thesis projects have been presented at national meetings and 65% published in peer reviewed journals. Abstracts and thesis titles from 2002 to the present are listed below.

GCP graduation

Class of 2020

Wendi Betting

Factors that impact uptake of carrier screening by male reproductive partners of female prenatal patients

Sarah Burke

Understanding Genetic Counselor's approaches to Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing for hereditary breast cancer

Caroline Bertsch

The course of Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in parents and infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with or without genetic anomalies

Aranza Gonzalez Cendejas

Implementation of genetic carrier screening in the Ob population: healthcare cost impact and recommendation adherence

Addison Johnson

Assessing patient attitudes toward genetic testing for hereditary hematologic malignancy

Bradley Power

Investigating Medical Examiner's practices: Genetic evaluation for fatal acute

Emily Stiglich

Genetic Counselor's experiences with and approaches to discordant genotypic and phenotypic sex

Autumn Vara

Frequency of copy number variants involving the sex chromosomes in a clinical setting

Class of 2019

Alexa Bream Metabolic Control, Quality of Life, and Body Image in Patients with Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia
Peyton Busby Exploring the Potential Yield of Prenatal Testing by Evaluating a Postnatal Population with Structural Abnormalities
Georgiann Garza Exploring Experiences & Expectations of Prenatal Healthcare and Genetic Counseling/Testing in Immigrant
Emily Krosschell Impacts of Insurance and Billing Considerations on the Practice and Attitudes of Genetic Counselors
Allison Moats Hypoglycemia in Mitochondrial Disorders
Samantha Montgomery Identifying Interest in and Barriers to Psychiatric Genetic Counseling
Carol Nowlen Identifying Pathogenic Variants in Hereditary Cancer Syndrome Genes Via Tumor Molecular Profiling
Cayleen Smith Termination for Fetal Anomaly: What is the Impact of Genetic Counseling on Coping?
Angelica Starnes Current Practices and Perspectives of Genetic Counselors (GCs) and Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) Regarding Transfer of Mosaic Embryos
Danielle Williams Genetic Counselor Utilization And Interpretation of Somatic Tumor Testing In Evaluation of Lynch Syndrome

Class of 2018

Sarah Azam Panel Genetic Testing for Primary Brain Tumors
Taylor Beecroft Patient Attitudes Toward Genetic Testing for Inherited Predispositions to Hematologic Malignancies
Lauren Fleddermann Current Genetic Counseling Practice Following Positive Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing for Sex Chromosome Abnormalities
Ellie Gould Examining the Relationship Between Genetic Counselors' Implicit Attitudes Toward Disability and Their Practice Methods
Kate Mowrey The Psychiatric Impact of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex and Utilization of Mental Health Treatment
Jess Omark Attitudes Toward Updated Genetic Testing in Patients With Unexplained Mismatch Repair Deficiency
Annelise Pace Outcomes of Genetic Testing in a Genitourinary Genetics Clinic
Sara Wofford Genetic Testing Practices of Genetic Counselors, Geneticists, and Pediatric Neurologists with Regard to Childhood-Onset Neurogenetic Conditions

Class of 2017

Jordan Berg

Barriers to Expansion of Supervision Networks at Genetic Counseling Training Programs

Maggie Clifford

Clinical Applicability of Proposed Algorithm For Identifying Individuals at Risk for Hereditary Hematologic Malignancies

Leslie Durham

The Utilization of Prenatal Microarray: A Survey of Current Genetic Counseling Practices and Barriers

Amanda Gerard

Undergraduate Student Perceptions and Awareness of Genetic Counseling

Meagan Kaulfus

Attitudes of Clinicians Towards Cardiac Surgery and Trisomy 18

Katy Reese

Attitudes Toward and Uptake of Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing in Twin Pregnancies

Chelsea Wagner

Genesurance Counseling: Patient Perspectives

Ellen Zirkelbach

Managing Variant Discrepancy in Hereditary Cancer: Clinical Practice, Barriers and Desired Resources
Class of 2016
Torry Breen Factors Influencing Uptake of Risk-Reducing Salpingo-Oophorectomy
by BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers
Katie Chan Ethnic Identity and Teratogenic Risk Perceptions
Christina Falugi The Effect of Photographs of Visible Genetic Conditions on Quality of Life Perceptions
Meagan Giles NIPT Results Indicative of Maternal Neoplasms: Genetic Counselors’ Preferences and Attitudes
Jessie Ross The Psychosocial Effects of the Li-Fraumeni Education and Early Detection (LEAD) Program on Individuals with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome
Ginger Tsai Attitudes towards Prenatal Genetics Among Southeast and East Asian Women: a Qualitative Pilot Study
Victoria Wagner No Difference in Health Related Quality of Life between Therapeutic Options for Type 1 Gaucher Disease
Theresa Wittman Patient Perception of Residual Risk Post Negative Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing
Class of 2015

Lizzie Baack The effect of Room Environment on Patient Experience in a Prenatal Genetic Counseling Session
Callie Jenevein Texas Physicians' Awareness and Utilization of Genetic Services
Sarah Mayes Ob/Gyn Utilization of the NIPT Expanded Testing Option
Carla McGruder Evaluation of Current Knowledge of Genetics among Dental Students, Residents and Dental Hygiene Students
Katelynn Sagaser Spiritual Exploration in the Prenatal Genetic Counseling Session
Haley Streff Cancer Incidence in First and Second Degree Relatives of BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers
Kayla Vaughn Knowledge and Self-Esteem in Individuals with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1)
Caiqian Wu Evaluating the NCCN Clinical Criteria for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome Genetic Testing
Class of 2014
Amanda Hanson Anchoring and Uptake of Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing in the First and Second Trimester
Andi Lewis
Availability of Dental Anomaly Phenotype in Individuals with
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
Jackie Mersch Cancers in Individuals with BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations other than Breast and Ovarian
Shannon Mulligan Cancer Diagnosis during Pregnancy: Evaluating the Challenges Faced by Oncologists
Emily Parham Evaluation of current clinical criteria in a diverse sample of TP53 mutation carriers
Aarti Ramdaney Support Desired by Women following Termination of Pregnancy for a Fetal Anomaly
Stephanie Thompson

Latinas and the Traditional Genetic Counseling Model: A Qualitative Study

Class of 2013
Allison Copeland Attitudes and practices of genetic counselors in providing predictive testing to minors at risk for li-fraumeni syndrome
Jessica Davis Attitudes toward and utilization of non-invasive prenatal testing for chromosome aneuploidy among ob/gyns

Kate Dempsey Mismatch repair deficient tumors lacking known sporadic causes: are they all due to lynch syndrome?
Michelle McDougle Knowledge and expectations of support people in prenatal genetic counseling sessions
Nicole Mohrbacher The Impact of Family History on Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC) in Patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2A (MEN2A)
Brad Rolf An assessment of knowledge, attitudes, and access to genetic testing and counseling services in U.S. hemophilia treatment centers
Class of 2012 
Nevena Cvjetkovic FZD6, MATN2 and SLC25A32, Possible Candidate Genes in Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip and Palate
Carolyn Garby Accuracy of the BRCAPro Risk Assessment Model in Males Presenting to MD Anderson for BRCA Testing 
Roya Mostafavi Long Term Follow-up of Morbidity and Quality of Life Associated with Isolated Gastroschisis 
Salma Nassef Knowledge, Attitudes and Utilization of BRCA Testing among Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Samantha Penney Evaluation of Knowledge Regarding Diagnostic Strategies for Genetic Diseases in Select Residents
Katherine Rock Attitudes about Predictive MEN1 Genetic Testing in Minors
Ann Simmons Predictors of Contralateral Breast Cancer in BRCA Negative Women
Class of 2011
Emily Gabitzsch Prevalence of Premature Ovarian Failure in Women with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Laura Hendon
Physician Perceptions of Risk Regarding Mood Disorders and Pharmacological Management During Pregnancy: What is Current Practice?
Ashley Henriksen Knowledge and Perception of the Role of Targeted Ultrasound in Detecting Down Syndrome among a High Risk Population
Trisha Nichols Natural History Study of Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, Amyoplasia Type
Laura Panos Effect of Anchoring on Perceived Amniocentesis Related Miscarriage Risk Within a Latina Population
Sarah Swain Evaluation of Recurrence Risks for Left-Sided Cardiac Lesions
Class of 2010  
Justine Cooper Factors Associated with Early Versus Late Development of Breast and Ovarian Cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Positive Women
Carrie Crain An Assessment of Obesity and Hyperphagia in Individuals with Smith-Magenis Syndrome
Deanna Darnes First Trimester Screening and Its Impact on Uptake Diagnostic Testing
Leslie Newman Attitudes of Parents at Risk of Inheriting Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Towards Predictive Genetic Testing in Their Minor-Aged Children
Gina Nuccio Influence of Anchoring on Miscarriage Risk Perception Associated with Amniocentesis
Amy Sommer Xenobiotic Metabolism Genes and Clubfoot
Class of 2009
Laura Amendola Comparison between BRCA1 and BRCA2 Positive and Negative Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 35 Years of Age or Less
Rebecca Carter Stress And Well-Being Among Parents of Children With Potocki-Lupski Syndrome
Sarah Colosimo An Assessment of Genetics Knowledge Among Medical Residents Within Various Medical Specialties
Jennifer R. Fowler Self-Perceptions of Siblings and Sibling Relationships in Families with Down Syndrome
Travis J. Morgan Live Versus Online Environment and Learning Style Effect on Genetic Knowledge Acquisition and Retention
Lauren Murphy TSC Patient Perceptions of Psychiatric Symptoms: A Needs Assessment
Marisa Vineyard A Study of Association Between Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Based on Family History
Class of 2008  
Lauren McNair

An Epidemiological Characterization of Renal Agenesis

Sarah Seth Exploring the Role of Religion in Amniocentesis Decision-Making Among Latina Women
Lauren Spurck First Trimester Combined Screening:  Impact on Uptake of Invasive Procedures in AMA Women
Blair Stevens Effect of Miscarriage Risk on Decision Making for Amniocentesis
Matthew Tschirgi Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences of Oncologists and Obstetricians/Gynecologists Regarding Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Hereditary Cancer Predisposition Syndromes
Class of 2007  
Jennifer Defant Preeclampsia and the Trisomy 21 Conceptus
Alyssa Knisley Maternal Serum Screening: Does the Frequency of Abnormal Results Vary with Ethnicity?
Erin Salo Survey of Cancers and Genotype-Phenotype Correlations in the HNPCC Patient Population at U.T. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Amy Stanford Expanded Newborn Screening in Texas: A Survey and Educational Module Addressing the Knowledge of Pediatric Residents
Cathy Sullivan The Impact of Genes in Glucose Metabolism on Rostral Lesion Location in Patients with Spina Bifida Meningomyelocele
Catherine Tipps Trisomy 21, 18, AND 13 IN Texas: Prevalence and Mortality Study
Class of 2006  
Stacey Miller Oral Contraceptive Use in Relation to Clinical and Pathological Characteristics of Hereditary Breast Cancer
Gabriel Lazarin Hispanics' Attitudes, Knowledge, and Beliefs Regarding Colorectal Cancer (CRC) and CRC Screening
Jennifer Sherrill Maternal Serum Screening: Results, Disclosure, Anxiety and Risk Perception
Julia Wynn Achondroplasia Mortality Study: A 40 Year Follow-up Study
Kaylene Ready Obstetrics/Gynecology Residents' Knowledge and Practices Regarding HBOC and HNPCC: A Survey and Educational Program
Marianna Horz Turner Syndrome and Growth Hormone: A Quality of Life Assessment
Class of 2005  
Tamara Solomon Neonatal Central Nervous System Thrombotic Events (Stroke) and Genetic Risk Factors as the Determining Cause
Cynthia Trotter Friendship Quality: Relationship to Severity of Disease in children with Neurofibromatosis Type I
Jennifer Lemoine Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Anxiety
Class of 2004  
Jamie Chance Decisions in Genetic Counseling: Control, Conflict, and Confidence
Alice Schindler Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and Clinical Heterogeneity: Are Modifying Haplotypes Affection Phenotype Variability?
Andrea Atherton Assessing the Quality of Life in children and Adolescents with Neurofibromatosis Type I
Carol Linsner Psychological Distress and Genetic Counseling for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome
Colleen Buechner Prenatal, Perinatal, and Neonatal Risk Factors for Autistic Disorder
Class of 2003  
Emily Gutter Characterization of the Clinical Phenotype Associated with Familial Thoracic Aneurysms and Dissections
Sandra Darilek Hereditary Multiple Exostosis and Pain: To What Extent is Pain Associated with HME?
Jennifer Malone Anxiety and Prenatal Testing: Do Women with Soft Ultrasound Findings Have Increased Anxiety Compared to Women with Other Indications for Testing?
Carolyn Wilson Phenotypic Comparisons in 107 Familial Cases of Tuberous Sclerosis: Further Evidence for Genotype-Phenotype.
Class of 2002  
Stephanie Manzo Health Beliefs and Attitudes of Individuals Affected with PKU and Diabetes
Jennifer Seifert An Assessment of Understanding in Genetic Counseling Hispanic Patients
Laura Valentine X-Linked Hypophosphatemic Rickets: Descriptive Study of Growth Pattern and PHEX Mutations Associated with Conventional Treatment
Jennifer Saucier Decision-Making Regarding Amniocentesis in Women of the Asian Racial-Ethnic Group