Genetic Counseling Faculty and Staff
Jill M. Fischer, M.S., C.G.C.
Board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Jill M. Fischer, M.S., C.G.C., received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. In 1993, she earned her M.S. in Genetic Counseling from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, where she was named "Most Outstanding Genetic Counselor." She was later honored as the 2002-2003 USC School of Medicine Distinguished Master’s Alum and was selected to give the first annual distinguished alumnus lecture. Her graduate thesis laid the groundwork for her to establish the role of the genetic counselor in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), specifically preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Fischer is the former Director of the Long Island University Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, where she oversaw the training of genetic counselors in traditional and expanded roles. Until 2014, she was the Director of Clinical Genetic Services for Reprogenetics, LLC., a PGD laboratory. There she oversaw clinical aspects of care for PGD patients including counseling of patients, orientation and education of associated IVF groups, supervision of the genetic counseling and molecular teams, as well as overall organization of PGD cases. Other experience in ART includes being the genetic counselor for the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and the Jones Institute for Women’s Health. In addition to her work in ART and PGD, Fischer also has extensive experience in prenatal and pediatric genetics and is a co-founder of Recombine, a genetic testing company.
In 1996, Fischer founded and chaired the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Infertility Special Interest Group (SIG). She is a founding member and past chair of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Genetic Counseling SIG. An international speaker, Fischer has chaired and presented numerous conference plenary talks, ASRM Post-Graduate Courses, NSGC Short Courses, NSGC Educational Breakout Sessions and American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics symposia. She also serves in various advisory roles including being a past member of the NSGC Board of Directors.
Helio Pedro, M.D.
Helio Pedro, M.D., received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He went on to obtain his Medical Degree from St. George's University School of Medicine. He completed a Joint Residency Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, and went on to work in private practice for 2 years. Afterwards, he returned to UMDNJ to pursue a fellowship in Clinical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics. Upon finishing his fellowship, Dr. Pedro remained at UMDNJ as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Genetics, and worked jointly with the Division of Genetics at Hackensack University Medical Center. He left UMDNJ in 2009, after being appointed Chief of the Division of Genetics at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Pedro is the current Section Chief of Genetics and Genomics at Hackensack Meridian Health and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. He supervises medical residents, medical students and genetic counseling students in their clinical genetics training. He is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics in both Clinical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics. His research interests include clinical genetics, adult genetics and biochemical genetics.
Robert Pyatt, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomics
Robert Pyatt, Ph.D., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Theater from Indiana University, a Master of Science degree in Biology from Purdue University and a doctorate in Pathology from Ohio State University. Dr. Pyatt was a postdoctoral research fellow at Emory University. He is certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics in Clinical Molecular Genetics and has served as a director of genetic diagnostic laboratories at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio and Sanford Imagenetics in South Dakota. Dr. Pyatt has authored over 45 peer-reviewed publications and 80 conference abstracts. He has also served as consultant on the use of genetic information in criminal cases since 2004.
In addition to his clinical work, he is passionate about education and has taught at Clark-Atlanta University, Emory University, Ohio State University, the University of South Dakota and Augustana University. At both Ohio State University and Augustana University, Dr. Pyatt was intimately involved with the genetic counseling graduate programs serving as an instructor, thesis advisor, advisory board member and admissions committee member. Dr. Pyatt was awarded the O-H-I-Omics genetic counseling graduate program mentorship award in 2016 from OSU.
Dr. Pyatt has also developed informal education programs including the JW Family Science Extravaganza and the Harrisburg Family STEM festival, and served as a science outreach specialist with the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, OH.