Skip to main content

Genetic Testing and Your Health

What We Are Currently Working On

As a part of the third phase of eMERGE (funded by the National Genome Research Institute), we recruited 3,000 patients at Northwestern Medicine to undergo genetic testing for about 100 different genes. We are finished recruiting patients for the study and are working on returning the results from this testing to patients, as well as administering follow up surveys and interviews. We hope to learn:

  • What participants understand about the genetic information
  • How participants use positive and negative test results in their lives and in making health care decisions
  • How doctors use and value genetic information in patient care

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing looks for changes in genes. Genes are instructions that tell the body how to grow and function. Genes are made up of building blocks called DNA. The type of genetic testing we are doing is called sequencing. Sequencing looks at how DNA is organized in a gene.

We tested for genetic differences that have been linked to the causes of disease or conditions, such as:

  • Certain types of cancers and heart conditions that can be passed down in families
  • Your body’s response to some medications
  • Certain types of skin or allergy conditions

View Gene List


  • This study does not provide genetic testing for every genetic condition. Also, this study is using a type of genetic testing called sequencing. Sequencing does not detect all types of genetic changes.
  • Sometimes, genetic testing is recommended for your immediate medical care. Please speak with your doctor or a genetic counselor about ordering those tests separately.


The results from your genetic test will be returned to you and placed in your Northwestern medical record. Your results will either be returned to you in a letter, or a doctor or genetic counselor will call you with results.

Results are currently taking over a year for us to return to participants. We appreciate your patience with the process. As soon as we receive your results from the lab, we will return them to you.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your results, you can contact a study team member at (312) 503-6200 or at

Follow Center for Genetic Medicine on