Genomic Medicine Institute

The Genomic Medicine Institute (GMI) serves as the expert base for the principles and practice of genomic medicine, including genetics and genomics research, clinical care, and outreach and education directed at genomics-based personalized healthcare. Research conducted at GMI focuses on both translational and clinical human genetics and genomic science, meaning discoveries made in the laboratory will advance the field of precision medicine and, ultimately, improve the quality of patient care.

GMI, founded over a decade ago by Charis Eng, MD, PhD, Chairperson, is specifically designed with open laboratory space in order to enhance genomics research. Researchers work together with clinicians in the clinical arm of the Institute — the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare — as well as the Genomic Medicine Biorepository, which processes and stores thousands of patient samples and biological molecules linked to a relational database, and the Genomics Core facility, which utilizes cutting-edge genomics technology for multiple researchers within the Cleveland Clinic and externally.

The Institute offers a unique training program to young investigators who wish to apply genomics to their research or medical practice. GMI also coordinates genomic research and practice across many disease areas to enhance interdisciplinary research and healthcare.




Brandie Leach, MS, LGC Elected to Board of Lynch Syndrome Screening Network

We are thrilled to announce that GMI's Genetic Counselor Brandie Leach, MS, LGC has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Lynch Syndrome Screening Network! The Lynch Syndrome Screening Network promotes universal tumor screening of individuals with newly diagnosed colorectal and endometrial cancers. Its goal is to reduce the cancer burden associated with Lynch syndrome for patients and their families.


CPGH Caregivers Receive Excellence Award

CPGH received an enterprise Excellence Award for teamwork, recognizing the team for its commitment to delivering quality patient care when the department was short-staffed. CPGH’s genetic counselors, part-time physicians, and support staff worked around the clock to ensure that patients received comprehensive clinical genetics services based on their levels of acuity. They had a significant impact on both patient care and business operations, even slightly increasing the number of patients served compared to 2016 when the group was fully staffed.


GMI Student Lamis Yehia Successfully Defends PhD Thesis

On November 8, 2017, GMI student Lamis Yehia successfully defended her PhD thesis titled, Novel Role of SEC23B as a Cancer Susceptibility Gene in Cowden Syndrome and Apparently Sporadic Thyroid Cancer. Dr. Yehia (!) completed her doctoral studies in the Cancer Biology Training Program within Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Pathology, where she was mentored by GMI Chair Dr. Charis Eng.


Dr. Eng Kicks Off the 2017 Medical Innovations Summit by Discussing How Genomic Medicine Has Impacted Her Cancer Journey

In an interview with Cleveland Clinic's Chief of Staff Dr. Brian Donley, Dr. Eng explains why the topic of genomics and precision medicine is so important right now and shares her own story as a patient.


GMI Friend Tom Frazier II, PhD, Shares His Family's Genetic Counseling Experience at the 2017 Medical Innovations Summit

CPGH genetic counselor Allison Schreiber, MS, LGC, discusses genetic testing for patients with autism with long-time GMI friend and Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks Tom Frazier II, PhD, during his keynote address at MIS2017. (Allison joins Dr. Fraizer at 15:10.)


Dr. Eng Receives Professional Achievement Award


Dr. Charis Eng of Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute

10/27/17 - Charis Eng, MD, PhD, founding Chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and founding Director of the institute’s clinical component, the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, was honored with a Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago Alumni Association. Click here for the full press release.


GMI Played Significant Role in Cleveland Clinic's Medical Innovation Summit


10/26/17 - More than 2,500 people gathered in downtown Cleveland on October 23-25 for the 15th annual Medical Innovation Summit hosted by Cleveland Clinic Innovations. This year’s theme was Genomics & Precision Medicine. GMI played a major role in planning the event, and GMI Chair Charis Eng, MD, PhD, spoke on multiple panels. Memorably, Dr. Eng shared her own cancer journey in a conversation with Cleveland Clinic’s Chief of Staff, Brian Donley, MD, to open the Summit.

Sirena Meade, Dr. Charis Eng, Lamis Yehia, and Dr. Sara Akhvanafard of Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute

Pictured above from left to right: Sirena Meade, Dr. Charis Eng, Lamis Yehia, Dr. Sara Akhavanfard


Dr. Eng participated in the following panel discussions:

  • Breaking the Code: Will Next-Generation Sequencing Bring Genomics to the Mainstream?Moderated by CNBC reporter Meg Tirrell, the panel also comprised Cindy Collins, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Human Longevity, Inc.; Christine Cournoyer, MA, Chief Executive Officer of N-of-One, Inc.; and Alexander Ford, MS, President of Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc.

Breaking the Code panel from Cleveland Clinic Innovations Medical Innovation Summit

Pictured above from left to right: Meg Tirrell, Cindy Collins, Christine Cournoyer, Dr. Charis Eng, Alexander Ford.

  • Precision Medicine Implementation: Led by Wilson Tang, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Clinical Genomics, Dr. Eng participated in a roundtable discussion with Joan Booth, Senior Director of Research Operations; Daniel Farkas, PhD, Section Head of Molecular Pathology; Stan Hazen, MD, PhD, Chair of Cellular and Molecular Medicine; and Timothy Crone, MD, Medical Director of Enterprise Analytics.
  • Zeroing in on Disease: The Latest Tools in Risk Stratification and Early Detection: Dr. Eng joined Helmy Eltoukhy, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Guardant Health; Dave McKee, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Care Path; and Alan Wright, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Roche Diagnostics.

Wednesday’s keynote speaker was long-time GMI colleague Tom Frazier, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Autism Speaks. As part of his keynote address, Dr. Frazier interviewed GMI genetic counselor Allison Schreiber, MS, LGC, who played an important role in helping to identify a genetic component of his son’s autism diagnosis.

Dr. Tom Frazier and Allison Schreiber at Cleveland Clinic Innovations Medical Innovation Summit

Pictured above: Dr. Tom Frazier and Allison Schreiber


Thanks to Cleveland Clinic Innovations and all who worked to make this summit a successful learning and networking opportunity!



Cleveland Clinic Researchers Find Link Between Bacterial Imbalances and Breast Cancer


10/6/17 - Charis Eng, MD, PhD, along with co-senior author Stephen Grobmyer, MD, uncovered differences in the bacterial composition of breast tissue in healthy women compared to that of women with breast cancer. The findings were recently published in the journal Oncotarget. According to Dr. Eng, this study of the breast tissue, oral and urinary microbiomes in breast cancer is the first to examine both breast tissue and distant sites for bacterial differences in breast cancer.

“Our hope,” said Dr. Eng, “is to find a biomarker that would help us diagnose breast cancer quickly and easily. In our wildest dreams, we hope we can use microbiomics right before breast cancer forms, and then prevent cancer with probiotics or antibiotics.”

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (after skin cancer) in the United States, where 1 in 8 women will develop the disease in their lifetimes.

To read the full press release, click here.



GMI Hosts 5th Annual Genetics Education Symposium


9/29/17 - The Genomic Medicine Institute’s (GMI) 5th annual Genetics Education Symposium entitled, “Genetics & Genomics: A Focus on Women’s Health” was held on Thursday, September 9th at the InterContinental Hotel and Conference Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This day-long symposium was attended by more than 200 healthcare professionals and students from a variety of organizations.

Genomic Medicine Institute Education Symposium


The presentations focused on advances in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of genetic conditions in diseases affecting women. Presentations included: Genetics Primer & Clinical Updates by Linford Williams, MS, LGC; Genetics and Women’s Health: Seeing and Foreseeing the Ethical Challenges Ahead by Ruth Farrell, MD, MA; Preimplantation Genetic Screening and Diagnosis: What You Need to Know by Marissa Coleridge, MS, LGC; Evolution of Prenatal Genetic Screening and Testing: NIPT and Beyond by Jeff Chapa, MD, MBA; Promises and Pitfalls of Prenatal Whole Exome Sequencing by Amanda Kalan, MD; Fertility Preservation and Cancer: Survivors, Previvors, and the Newly Diagnosed by Rebecca Flyckt, MD; Improving Access to Cancer Genetics via Telegenetics by Ryan Noss, MS, LGC; Breast Cancer: Management of Moderate Penetrance Predisposition Genes by Holly Pederson, MD; Use of Hormonal and Non-hormonal Therapies in Breast Cancer Survivors and Women at High Risk for Breast/Gyn Cancers by Holly Thacker, MD; Addressing Commonly Asked Patient Questions about Genetics by Rebekah Moore, MS, LGCChristina Rigelsky, MS, LGC and Allison Schreiber, MS, LGC; and a panel discussion on Genetic Testing Reimbursement featuring Bruce Rogen, MD, MPH and John Yao, MD, MBA, MPH, which was moderated by Daniel Sullivan, MDCharis Eng, MD, PhD, course director, founding Chair of the GMI and Director of the Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare, concluded the day with her presentation Your Genes, Your Wine, Your Health, followed by a wine reception.


Dr. Daniel Sullivan, Dr. Bruce Rogen, Dr. John Yao at Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute Education Symposium

Pictured above from left to right: Dr. Daniel Sullivan, Dr. Bruce Rogen, Dr. John Yao


Marissa Coleridge at Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute's Education sympsoium

Pictured above: Marissa Coleridge

This year’s symposium also showcased GMI trainees who gave “lightning talks,” or quick summaries, of GMI research and poster presentations displayed throughout the day.

Keep updated on all GMI events, seminars, and next year’s symposium by subscribing to our newsletter. To subscribe, email Jenn Lonzer, GMI’s Communication and Education Coordinator at


Dr. Holly Pederson, Dr. Holly Thacker, Dr. Charis Eng at Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute's Education Symposium

Pictured above from left to right: Dr. Holly Pederson, Dr. Holly Thacker, Dr. Charis Eng



Eng Lab Discovers that a Rarely Studied Gene Plays a Role in Predisposition to Thyroid Cancer


4/21/17 - Charis Eng, MD, PhD and her research team including first author Ying Ni, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, at the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute have discovered that a faulty, rarely studied gene called USF3 may predispose individuals to thyroid cancer.This exciting research was recently published in Human Molecular Genetics.

The discovery of this cancer predisposition gene will facilitate predictive genetic testing, risk assessment, genetic counseling and clinical management of the disease.

Featured in over 13 media outlets, including:

American Association for the Advancement of Science - EurekAlert

Cleveland Clinic Researchers Publish New Study of Family with Cowden syndrome, Thyroid Cancer

Cleveland Clinic - ConsultQD

Rarely Studied Gene Plays a Role in Predisposition to Thyroid Cancer

Full journal publication here:

Human Molecular Genetics

Germline compound heterozygous poly-glutamine deletion in USF3 may be involved in predisposition to heritable and sporadic epithelial thyroid carcinoma


Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare Patient Story Featured in Autism News Site

Description: - Since her discovery of the PTEN gene in 1997, cancer geneticist and Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute Chair, Charis Eng, MD, PhD has collaborated with physicians and scientists across the nation to determine the impact of a PTEN gene mutation. Their research determined that this gene, in some cases, can cause both cancer and autism. This subtype of autism has been named PTEN-ASD and is estimated to affect up to 2% of individuals with autism.

That was the story of a boy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Charlie Ryan, one of Dr. Eng’s patients at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare. After her son developed autism and a benign tumor - Charlie’s mother was determined to find out what could cause such seemingly polar diseases. Her research led Charlie to Cleveland Clinic to be treated by Dr. Eng and autism expert, Thomas Frazier, PhD. In a story by Spectrum, an autism news site, Charlie’s parents tell their story. The article also includes how PTEN was discovered, the impact of a PTEN gene mutation, and finally, the treatment options for Charlie and others like him. Read the whole story on Spectrum’s website here.