Rebecca Mueller, MS, MA, LCGC is a genetic counselor at University of Pennsylvania and an instructor at Penn’s new genetic counseling program. She is a doctoral candidate in Penn’s History and Sociology of Science department, and studied American Studies at Barnard College before receiving her masters degree in genetic counseling at Arcadia University. Mueller served as the inaugural outreach coordinator for Penn’s Basser Center, where she established a long-standing interest in oncology that led to collaborative research on the patient experience of hereditary cancer risk and novel methods for delivering cancer genetics care.
Mueller’s research cuts across genetic counseling and medical humanities. She has performed qualitative research on career paths for genetic counselors, the clinical integration of whole-exome and chromosomal microarray testing, and the patient experience of BRCA1/2 and cystic fibrosis. Her dissertation takes the relatively common genetic disease cystic fibrosis as a case study of novel diagnostic technologies, risk, and sociality. Mueller’s work traces how a bacterial epidemic in the CF patient population irrevocably altered patient experience as policy-makers made efforts to mitigate infectious risk. With increasingly austere guidelines calling for the physical separation of CF patients from one another, the CF story is especially prescient in the era of Covid-19. In addition to her doctoral work, Mueller leads a qualitative study aimed at characterizing the rapid transition to telegenetics amidst Covid-19 in collaboration with colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn’s Genetic Counseling Program. This research that aims to determine the long-term viability of this model of care as well as the implications for supervising genetic counseling students on telegenetics platforms.