Press Release: Laura Hercher to Host the ‘The Beagle Has Landed’ -- A New Genetic Counseling Podcast Series Launched by De Novo Productions

For Immediate Release

Laura Hercher to Host the ‘The Beagle Has Landed’ -- A New Genetic Counseling Podcast Series Launched by De Novo Productions

SAN FRANCISCO—August 24, 2018—Renowned educator and genetic counselor, Laura Hercher, will host a new podcast "The Beagle Has Landed" devoted to the field of genetic counseling. The “Beagle”, launching August 28 by De Novo Productions, producers of the long-running podcast series Mendelspod, will be of interest to genetic counselors, clinical geneticists, physicians, researchers, and curious patients. The program’s name finds its origin in Charles Darwin’s epic voyages of evolutionary discovery upon a vessel of the same name.

The field of genetic counseling is undergoing rapid growth and change that impacts patients and healthcare decision-making. The rise of a diagnostic testing industry built upon next generation DNA sequencing has led to a pressing need for counselors. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimated there were 2,400 genetic counselors working in the country. The agency also predicted a 29 percent growth rate for genetic counseling jobs through 2024. By 2016, the American Board of Genetic Counseling reported that there were more than 4,000 at work in the U.S. and Canada.

Ms. Hercher is a faculty member and director of student research at the Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College, the country’s first and largest training program for genetic counselors. Hercher is the co-founder of and regular contributor to The DNA Exchange, a blog for the genetic counseling community that has grown to more than 100,000 visitors annually, is the author of "Anybody’s Miracle," and has been a regular contributor to Mendelspod for the past three years.

“Laura is unlike anyone else in the field at the moment. She has been coming on the "Mendelspod" program for three years to discuss genomics. Laura brings a voice and a perspective,” says Theral Timpson, host and producer of Mendelspod. "Her voice is not just that of a genetic counselor or an ethicist, but of a person with questions and ideas.”

“In the past five years, clinical genetics has turned a corner,” writes Hercher in her opening blog post. “The cost of sequencing has fallen to pocket change. Our ability to make sense of that sequencing data has benefitted from a decade of experience at scale. Suddenly, genetics is moving out of its niche role and into the mainstream of medicine. Genetic counselors are a growing group with a strong sense of themselves as pioneers, genetics ambassadors, charged with educating both patients and providers about genetics and how it can be used responsibly and ethically. The Beagle Has Landed will be a forum for this emerging community.”

"Laura Hercher is a true Renaissance woman—genetic counselor, teacher, writer and raconteur. Her voice has never been more welcome nor more essential,” says Dr. Misha Angrist, Associate Professor of the Practice in the Social Science Research Institute at Duke and Senior Fellow in the Duke Initiative for Science & Society.

“I’m proud to be one of the first guests on a podcast that will raise the visibility of genetic counselors, who are integral in the ever-changing health care landscape,” says President of the National Society of Genetic Counselors President (NSGC) Erica Ramos. “Laura is a champion for our profession, and I know she will use her wit and wisdom to help people better understand how genetic counselors provide personalized help in genetic health.”

The first episode of the podcast airs August 28 and features Laura with “resident philosopher” Bob Resta. The show will air every other week with the opening lineup featuring science journalist, Carl Zimmer, and NSGC President Erica Ramos who also serves as Geisinger’s Head and Director of Clinical Business Development. The podcast will be publicly available for free at, on iTunes, and other podcatching sites.

About De Novo Productions
Since 2011, De Novo Productions has connected people and ideas in the life sciences through its well-known and long-running podcast series, "Mendelspod," and new series "The Beagle Has Landed." From its studios in the San Francisco Bay Area – the birthplace of biotech – De Novo Productions has created a space for probing conversations and deep insight into the topics and trends driving life science and genetics today and tomorrow.