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Oxford Centre for Genomic Medicine

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Genetic Counsellor staff profiles

Genetic Counsellors

Barbara Stayner BSc (Hons) MSc

Consultant Genetic Counsellor (Lead): GCRB Registered 176

Speciality: hereditary cancer

Areas covered: Oxford and Windsor


  • BSc Biology (Honours), University of Winnipeg
  • MSc Genetic Counselling, University of Manchester

Gael Bretz BSc MSc

Principal Genetic Counsellor

Jo Lowndes BSc (Hons) MSc

Principal Genetic Counsellor


  • mitochondrial genetics
  • eye genetics
  • prenatal and reproductive genetics

Areas covered: Oxford and all surrounding regions


  • BSc Hons (1st Class) Applied Biology - Molecular Biology, University of Hertfordshire
  • MSc Genetic Counselling, Manchester University
  • Certificate in Counselling (Person Centered and Psychodynamic Counselling training), University of Hertfordshire
  • Eye Clinic Support Studies Course,City University, London and RNIB

Jo Lowndes specialises in working with patients and families with mitochondrial and genetic eye conditions and also sees patients and couples for prenatal and reproductive genetic counselling relating to a wide range of genetic conditions.

Peter Risby RN MSc

Principal Cancer Genetics Counsellor: NMC Registered

Specialty: Cancer Genetics

Areas covered: Oxford and Chipping Norton

Qualifications: MSc Cancer Studies, Oxford

Peter has a special interest in bowel cancer, especially related to predisposition syndromes such as Lynch syndrome and familial polyposis.

Ruth Robertson BSc (Hons) MSc

Principal Genetic Counsellor: GCRB Registered 200


  • neurogenetics
  • HD

Areas covered: Oxford and Reading

Qualifications: MSc Genetic Counselling, Manchester

Training Officer for Genomic Counselling STP (Scientist Training Programme)

Kathryn Lubasch

Principal Genetic Counsellor

Specialty: Inherited Cardiac Conditions

Nilotpal Chauhan BTech MSc

Genetic Counsellor: GCRB Registered 407


  • clinical genetics (general, cancer and prenatal)
  • Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)
  • cleft lip and palate

Areas covered: Oxford, Swindon


  • BTech 1st class Genetic Engineering, SRM University, India
  • MSc (Distinction) Genetic Counselling, University of Manchester

Smrithi Devaiah BE (Biotech) MSc

Genetic Counsellor: GCRB Registered 408


  • cancer and general genetics
  • NF1
  • aortopathy (Marfan syndrome)

Areas covered: Oxford and Milton Keynes

Qualifications: MSc (Distinction) Genetic Counselling, University of Manchester

Anita Matadeen BSc (Hons) MSc

Genetic Counsellor: GCRB Registered 289


  • neurogenetics
  • HD
  • general and cancer

Qualifications: MSc Genetic Counselling

Anita is a keen advocate of genetics education for the general public and allied specialties. She holds a position on the UKGTN Genetic Test Evaluation Working Group.

Sally North BSc (Hons) MSc

Genetic Counsellor: HCPC Registered CS21048


  • cancer
  • general
  • prenatal
  • endocrine

Areas covered: Oxford, Reading and Wantage (cancer)


  • BSc (hons) Biological Sciences, Aberystwyth University
  • MSc Genomic Sciences (Genetic Counselling), University of Manchester
  • Scientific Training Programme (STP), Genomic Counselling.

Urvi Savania BSc MSc

Genetic Counsellor

Areas covered: Aylesbury, Thame and Oxford


  • BSc Biological Science with a major in Human Physiology, Macquarie University, Sydney
  • MSc Genomic Counselling,University of Glasgow

Sian Sperring BSc (Hons) MSc

Ophthalmology Genetic Counsellor


  • BSc Microbiology, Cardiff University
  • MSc Genetic Counselling, Cardiff University

Sian is based at Oxford Eye Hospital, John Radcliffe Hospital.

Hannah Wakelin BSc MSc

Genetic Counsellor

Areas covered: High Wycombe, Heatherwood and Oxford


  • BSc Biology with a major in Genetics, Massey University, New Zealand
  • MSc Genetic Counselling, University of Melbourne, Australia

Samantha Boland BSc (Hons) MSc

STP Trainee in Genomic Counsellor (2019 cohort)


  • BSc Human Biology (Honours), Bristol
  • MSc Genomic Medicine, Exeter

Jamie Forrest BSc (Hons) MSc

STP Trainee in Genomic Counsellor (2020 cohort)


  • BSc Neuroscience (Honours), University of Leeds
  • MSc Psychology, University of Hertfordshire

Megan Jones BSc (Hons)

STP Trainee in Genomic Counsellor (2019 cohort)

Qualifications: BSc Cellular and Molecular Medicine (Honours), University of Bristol

Family History Co-ordinators Team

Emma Ablett

Genomic Assistant

Qualifications: BSc (Honours) Biology, Oxford Brookes University

Emma's role consists of the delivery of the New Genomic Medicine service, which includes Whole Genome Sequencing, to patients and their relatives.

Fiona Elbourn

General Genetics Family History Co-ordinator

Fiona is a specialist nurse and contacts some patients before their appointment. This is to obtain some additional information about the person referred, detailed family history and discuss any concerns about the referral.

Gill Higgs

Cancer Genetics Triage Nurse


  • BA (Honours) Social Science with Psychological Studies, Open University
  • BSc Adult Nursing, Oxford Brookes University
  • PGC (Distinction) Cancer Studies, Oxford Brookes University

Gill's background is in oncology nursing. Her role involves gathering family histories and providing risk assessments for patients referred to the Cancer Genetics Service.

Wioletta Hurdha

Administrative Assistant

Last reviewed:15 February 2022