October 2023 - 2nd Year Student Spotlight - Sierra Pond

Sierra is a Salt Lake native. She earned her BS in Biology with a molecular emphasis from Loyola University Chicago in 2017. She worked at Shriners Children’s prior to starting the Master’s in Genetic Counseling program at the University of Utah. Sierra discovered her passion for complex, multidisciplinary healthcare in a pediatric setting as a team member of the Shriner’s family.

She recently completed a pediatric cardiology rotation at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which affirmed her enthusiasm for pediatrics. Sierra is eager to join the pediatric genetics community here in Utah upon graduation. She is abundantly thankful for her training here at the University of Utah.

October 2023 - 1st Year Student Spotlight - Christian Pareja

Christian is from Chicago, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Butler University. After graduating from Butler, he gained experience as a genetic counseling assistant for a preimplantation genetic testing lab, Reproductive Genetic Innovations. Christian was drawn to genetic counseling by his previous volunteer experience and work with families living with genetic conditions. He is excited to make the most of his time with the UUGCGP and use his education to work with families through their genetic diagnostic journey. Christian enjoys engaging in outdoor activities and looks forward to enjoying the diverse nature around Salt Lake City and throughout Utah.

October 2023 - Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Lynn Jorde

Dr. Lynn Jorde has been on the faculty of the University of Utah School of Medicine since 1979 and holds the Mark and Kathie Miller Presidential Endowed Chair in Human Genetics. He was appointed Chair of the Department of Human Genetics in September 2009. Dr. Jorde’s laboratory has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles on human genetic variation, high-altitude adaptation, the genetic basis of human limb malformations, and the genetics of common diseases such as autism, hypertension, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Jorde is the lead author of Medical Genetics, a textbook that is now in its 6th edition and translated into multiple foreign languages. He has received 12 teaching awards at the University of Utah School of Medicine, including the Outstanding Pre-Clinical Professor Awards from the graduating medical classes of 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005; the Leonard W. Jarcho Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003; and the University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. He is the co-recipient of the 2008 Award for Excellence in Education from the American Society of Human Genetics. During his career, Dr. Jorde has taught more than 4,000 medical students and hundreds of graduate students, residents, and fellows at the University of Utah. Through non-profit organizations, he has provided genetics education to hundreds of state and federal judges.

Dr. Jorde was elected as President of the 8,000-member American Society of Human Genetics in 2011. In 2012 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the Executive Director of the Utah Genome Project and Co-Director of the University of Utah Center for Genomic Medicine. He currently serves on the National Advisory Council of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the NIH.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Jorde is an avid hiker and cross-country skier, and he enjoys photography, gardening, traveling, and playing the piano. He has the peculiar distinction of once having been invited to appear on the Jerry Springer Show.