Christopher Gray, Genetic Counselling
Program: Master of Science, Genetic Counselling, University of Toronto, Class of 2018
Thesis Project Primary Supervisors: David Chitayat, MD and Susan Armel, MSc, MS, MScCH, CGC
Shortly after graduation, I accepted a genetic counselling position at the Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center (RIMGC) at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The RIMGC is recognized as one of the first pediatric individualized genomics programs in the United States, broadly integrating genomic testing into both clinical and research efforts at CHOP.
Every day, I have the privilege of serving patients and families both locally and from around the world, leveraging new advances in clinical genomic testing to diagnose and manage patients with suspected rare genetic conditions. The University of Toronto Master of Science Program in Genetic Counselling equipped me with the skills necessary to assist in the analysis and interpretation of clinical genomic tests, and to help my patients and families navigate and respond to the psychosocial complexities that oftentimes arise in this new era of genomic medicine.
When I am not directly seeing patients in clinic or on inpatient consults, my other responsibilities include consulting with non-genetics clinicians at CHOP who are interested in pursuing genetic testing within their own clinics; providing clinical correlation services for the CHOP Genomic Diagnostics Lab as part of the whole exome sequencing analysis pipeline; and lecturing and supervising students at the University of Pennsylvania Master of Science in Genetic Counselling Program (formally based at Arcadia University). I have also had the opportunity to partner with other subspecialists to develop new clinical initiatives at CHOP, including the Immune Dysregulation Program (IDP), a new multi-disciplinary outpatient clinic that streamlines the evaluation, diagnosis, and medical management of patients with suspected disorders of immune dysregulation. As the IDP’s genetic counselor, I help determine if and what genetic testing is appropriate for the patients that we see, interpret test results, and provide pre- and post-test genetic counselling to the patients and families.
Looking to the years ahead, I particularly look forward to being involved in the integration of whole genome sequencing into clinical practice in a few short years, as well as the continued expansion of Telemedicine services, allowing us to provide more accessible and personalized service to a greater number of patients and families.
Every day, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to serve my community as a genetic counsellor, and am forever grateful for the quality of training and unwavering support I received from the instructors, supervisors and mentors in the Master of Science Program in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto. I am happy to speak with anyone who wants to learn more about my role at CHOP or about the profession of genetic counselling in general!
Biswas S, Medne L, Devkota B, Bedoukian E, Berrodin D, Izumi K, Deardorff M, Tarpinian J, Leonard J, Pyle L, Gray C, Montgomery J, Williams T, Fortunato S, Weatherly J, McEldrew D, Kaur M, Raible S, Wilkens A, Spinner N, Skraban C, and Krantz I. 2020. A centralized approach for practicing genomic medicine. Pediatrics. 145(3):e20190855
Ritter A, Bedoukian E, Berger J, Copenheaver D, Gray C, Krantz I, Izumi K, Juusola J, Leonard J, Lin K, Medne L, Santani A, Skraban C, Yang S, and Ahrens-Nicklas R. 2019. Clinical utility of exome sequencing in infantile heart failure. Genetics in Medicine. 10.1038/s41436-019-0654-3
Kamel D, Gray C, Walia J, and Kumar V. 2018. PARP inhibitor drugs in the treatment of breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers: an update of clinical trials. Current Dru