Posted by & filed under CCTV's THE VIBRANT GENE talk show, Newborn Screening, Rare Disease.

Testing a newborn’s DNA could identify health risks, providing an early alert for parents and health providers. What are parents’ experiences with learning this information?



Short on time?  Here’s a teaser:



A research project at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital is exploring what may be the next generation of newborn screening.  Researchers of the BabySeq Project are inviting local babies to be some of the first to get all 23,000 of their genes sequenced and learn results about childhood-onset conditions.  Through a randomized controlled trial, healthy newborns and sick newborns being treated in the NICU will gain access to sequencing, and at no cost.


What will the parents do with the information?  Will it be useful to their pediatricians?  How do these genetic test results compare with standard newborn screening tests?  How soon can we anticipate commercial labs offering this test?  Find out by joining us on channel 9 or on our YouTube channel.


Join us on Wednesday March 23rd at 6:30 pm, on CCTV (Cambridge Channel 9).

This show will also be available here (link to be provided) within one week of taping.



About our Guests:

Maggie Helm pro pic


Maggie Helm obtained her Bachelors in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience from Colby College and her Masters in Genetic Counseling from Brandeis University. After graduating, she worked as a prenatal genetic counselor at Women & Infants Hospital. Maggie helped manage several projects with G2P looking at the use of genomic sequencing by healthy individuals. She is the project manager and genetic counselor for the BabySeq project, a randomized control trial exploring the use of genomic sequencing in newborns.


A&S graduate, photographed for an Arts & Sciences web slideshow. Meghan Connolly Towne, A&S '07, at 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston.


Meghan Towne obtained her Bachelors in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry from Boston College and a Masters in Genetic Counseling from Boston University.  She has since been working at The Manton Center for Orphan Disease Research at Boston Children’s Hospital and has helped shape the Center into a world-wide model for rare disease research.  She is the outgoing project manager for the Boston Children’s Hospital site of the BabySeq project.  She also serves as a coordinator of the Research Seminar Series of the Boston University School of Medicine Genetic Counseling graduate program.


About The Host and Producer:

Pro Pic 2015


Kayla Sheets is a board-certified, licensed genetic counselor and founder of Vibrant Gene Consulting, a concierge practice located in Cambridge Massachusetts.  Kayla is specialized in taking genetic insights and translating them into greater health and wellness for her clients.  She also provides expert advice about parental DNA testing to confirm relationships when traditional paternity/maternity tests fail.


Production Assistants:  Hayley Green and Lauren Hogan are interns at the Master of Science Program in Genetic Counseling at the Boston University School of Medicine.


Special thanks to Tracy Menoza, Catherine Coste and Dita Obler, LCGC, for insights and inspiration.


For Private Genetic Counseling, contact us via email ( or phone at (617)433-7874.