Karen Wain, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor & Assistant Professor
Karen Wain began her career in 2007 in a non-traditional role as a laboratory genetic counselor in the Cytogenetics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic. From the beginning, the power of effective communication and inter-disciplinary collaboration has been central to her professional interests. In the laboratory, she used her classic genetic counselor training to communicate with health care providers about genetic test results, explain genetic testing, and provide education and guidance. She was involved with the development of several laboratory improvement processes and held key roles in clinical trials designed to show the validity of chromosomal microarray platforms. Towards the end of her time in the laboratory, Karen was specifically dedicated to the creation and implementation of clinical whole exome sequencing. In addition to her laboratory role, Karen provided clinical genetic counseling services in the Mayo Clinic Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) specialty clinic and collaborated on multiple research projects related to this population.
In the past 10 years or so there has been an explosion of technological advances in genetics. However, without large-scale collaboration, our ability to identify genetic variation often outpaces our ability to interpret it effectively. Karen wants to contribute to work that ensures that genetics is implemented in health care such that all people may benefit and receive high quality services. To this end, Karen has been involved in the collaborative efforts of the International Standards for Cytogenomic Arrays (ISCA) Consortium and the Clinical Genome Resource (ClinGen) since 2009, including data-sharing protocols, education and outreach initiatives, data curation, and the evaluation of dosage sensitivity for genomic regions. She is currently a member of the ClinGen Consent and Disclosure Recommendations (CADRe) Workgroup which is creating tools to support health care providers’ use of genetic testing. Karen is excited to join the ADMI team to provide genetic counseling and support to families and to continue contributing to research that will provide them with meaningful information and diagnoses.