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Kristen Clift Rohrer Wood, MS

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Additional Title:

Research Genetic Counselor

Education and Training

  • College of William & Mary, BS, Neuroscience, 2005 
  • National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, Neurogenetics Laboratory, Post baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Fellow, 2006 
  • University of South Carolina School of Medicine, MS, Genetic Counseling, 2008 
  • American Board of Genetic Counseling Certification, CGC, 2010 



I am a board-certified genetic counselor and faculty member in the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. My position as an Instructor involves research, clinical genetic counseling, and teaching responsibilities. I am currently working on a research study under the supervision of Dr. Amber Beitelshees in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition that compares methods of contact of family members for cascade screening and the associated ethical considerations. As an integral part of the research team, I provide pre- and post-test counseling to the study population, who are members of the Amish community in Lancaster, PA. During home visits with the Amish community, I provide general information about familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and long QT syndrome (LQTS), risks and benefits of genetic testing, informational and support resources and medical referral letters summarizing key aspects of the counseling session. I also obtain informed consent from individuals interested in participating in the research study. Data from this study will hopefully lead to improved uptake of cascade screening for FH and LQTS.  

In my former position as a Regional Public Health Genetic Counselor in western North Carolina, I provided genetic counseling services to underserved, rural populations. My responsibilities included planning and implementing genetic satellite clinics, as well as providing genetic consultations and educational workshops to both professional communities and families. I also have training in the areas of pediatric, prenatal, cancer and adult genetic counseling. My particular interest in the psychosocial aspect of genetic counseling led me to my Master of Science thesis, in which I surveyed genetic counselors in the pediatric setting to learn more about their psychosocial practices. Results provided a snapshot of how important counselors perceive discussing specific psychosocial issues with their patients (such as self-esteem, reproductive concerns, and support systems), the degree of comfort and frequency with which counselors discuss these issues, and the family members these issues are most commonly addressed in. In addition, my laboratory research at the NIH involved sequencing single nucleotide polymorphisms to investigate susceptibility gene loci for Alzheimer’s Disease. 


Research/Clinical Keywords

genetic counseling, cascade screening, familial hypercholesterolemia, long QT syndrome, public health genetics, neurogenetics, psychosocial 

Highlighted Publications

Myers AJ, Pittman AM, Zhao AS, Rohrer K, Kaleem M, Marlowe L, Lees A, Leung D, McKeith IG, Perry RH, Morris CM, Trojanowski JQ, Clark C, Karlawish J, Arnold S, Forman MS, Van Deerlin V, de Silva R, Hardy J. The MAPT H1c risk haplotype is associated with increased expression of tau and especially of 4 repeat containing transcripts. Neurobiol Dis. 2007 Mar;25(3):561-70. 

Reiman EM, Webster JA, Myers AJ, Hardy J, Dunckley T, Zismann VL, Joshipura KD, Pearson JV, Hu-Lince D, Huentelman MJ, Craig DW, Coon KD, Liang WS, Herbert RH, Beach T, Rohrer KC, Zhao AS, Leung D, Bryden L, Marlowe L, Kaleem M, Mastroeni D, Grover A, Heward CB, Ravid R, Rogers J, Hutton ML, Melquist S, Petersen RC, Alexander GE, Caselli RJ, Kukull W, Papassotiropoulos A, Stephan DA. GAB2 alleles modify Alzheimer’s risk in APOE epsilon4 carriers. Neuron. 2007 Jun 7;54(5):713-720. 


Awards and Affiliations

Member, National Society of Genetic Counselors, 2007 - present