Dena Goldberg Linder
Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, Dena has been fascinated by genetics since she was six years old when her little sister was diagnosed with a rare genetic syndrome. She started her career in a laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she was sequencing human genomes as an undergraduate student. She then moved across the country to San Francisco to conduct breast cancer research at UCSF. Dena quickly realized that she needed more patient interaction, so she obtained a graduate degree in genetic counseling. Synthesizing her passion for media and genetics, she started her personal brand “DenaDNA” to make genetic testing less scary and more approachable. She started a lecture series called “Jewnetics: Jewish Genetics with DenaDNA” where she gives presentations to various Jewish community groups to spread awareness about the different genetic conditions prevalent in the Jewish community and how to get screened. Dena volunteers for the National Society of Genetic Counselors and utilizes her out-of-the-box thinking to help the Society develop materials to teach about genetics at a national level. For a short time, Dena lived and studied in the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Andes mountains. Prior to her career, Dena was an avid filmmaker and photographer as well as a classically trained vocalist with formal training in theater, comedy, and film. Dena is currently a full-time oncology genetic counselor at UCSF but hopes to one day create and star in a genetics television show.