Meet Our Team
Megan Roy-Puckelwartz, PhD
Sharon Aufox, MS, CGC
Sharon Aufox graduated with a Master of Science in Human Genetics from the Sarah Lawrence Genetic Counseling Program in 1996. She joined the Center for Genetic Medicine in 2002 after working as a clinical genetic counselor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem and for Rockford Memorial Hospital in their Hoffman Estates and Elgin satellite clinics. Aufox is an assistant professor at Northwestern University and is core faculty member of the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling.
With the NUgene Project, Aufox trains the research coordinators, handles regulatory issues, oversees the quality control of the data collected and actively participates in designing and executing research under a NIH cooperative grant. Aufox is involved in both the National Society of Genetic Counselors and the American Board of Genetic Counseling, serving on several committees and task forces. She is on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Genetic Counseling and is the chair of the National Society of Genetic Counselors' Research Special Interest Group, which focuses on the roles that genetic counselors can have in all aspects of genetic research. Within the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, Aufox co-teaches the Research Methods course, has been a thesis adviser and committee member on numerous students’ research projects and serves on several committees.
Angelica Espinoza joined the Center for Genetic Medicine in August 2014 as a senior research coordinator for the pharmacogenomics project. Espinoza graduated with a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from DePaul University in 2015. Prior to joining the Center for Genetic Medicine, Espinoza worked for Northwestern Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Research Program conducting clinical trials in the Clinical Research Unit. She currently manages the follow up of patients on various research studies and is the project coordinator for the eMERGE Project at Northwestern.
Christie Hoell, MS, CGC
Christie Hoell joined the Center for Genetic Medicine as the program manager for the eMERGE project in 2016. She received her Bachelor of Science in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008 and her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling from the Northwestern University Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling in 2011. She has been board-certified in genetic counseling by the American Board of Genetic Counseling since 2011.
Prior to joining the Center for Genetic Medicine, Hoell was a prenatal genetic counselor in the Center for Maternal and Fetal Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem. She is currently an instructor in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and a core faculty member for the Northwestern University Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling. Hoell is also actively involved with the National Society of Genetic Counselors, as well as the Genetic Task Force of Illinois. She served on the board of the Genetic Task Force of Illinois as secretary and president.
Jennifer Pacheco joined the Center for Genetic Medicine as the informatics lead for the NUgene Project in 2005. Pacheco has a bachelor’s degree in computer science with a minor in psychology, a post-baccalaureate certificate in biology, a graduate certificate in bioinformatics and is currently working towards a master’s degree in biomedical informatics. Her main role within NUgene is to work with scientists, both internally and externally, to extract de-identified phenotypic information from the electronic health record, including co-leading this work for the eMERGE project. Pacheco also co-leads the technical operation for the NUgene Project, where she provides customized, secure database and application solutions for the biobank.
Pacheco has experience with a variety of web, data analysis and other programming languages, tools and technologies. Prior to joining the Center for Genetic Medicine, she traveled around the world as a data mining consultant for one of the leading global consulting companies based in Chicago and also worked for a Cambridge, MA, pharmaceutical company where she developed dynamic web pages and configured scientific software.
Claudia Rivetta joined the Center for Genetic Medicine in August 2017 as a research project coordinator and NUgene Project lab manager. She graduated with a Master of Science degree from Northern Illinois University in 2004 and worked the following 10 years as a research assistant in basic science research projects and translational research efforts at Stanford University.
Rivetta has managed laboratories and assisted scientists with her knowledge of molecular biology techniques, such as DNA/RNA purification, western blots, multiplex PCR and cell culture transfections. For the NUgene Project, Rivetta manages all aspect of the NUgene laboratory, including the automated freezer storage and aliquoting systems.