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Laura Zahavich

Title: Genetic Counsellor, Genetic Counsellor, Department of Genetic Counselling Division of Clinical & Metabolic Genetics
Designations: M.Sc., CGC
U of T Positions: Lecturer, Department of Medical Genetics

Research Positions

Project Investigator
Research Institute


Laura is an ABGC certified genetic counsellor who completed her M.Sc. in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto (U of T) She joined the Department of Genetic Counselling at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in 2009 and has worked in various subspecialties including oncology and neurology. She also served as an interprofessional education specialist focusing on cross-cultural communication. Since 2013, Laura has worked as a cardiac genetic counsellor in the Labatt Family Heart Centre. Laura provides counselling and support for families as well as leadership for other health professionals around genetic testing and diagnosis of pediatric inherited cardiac conditions. Laura is a Lecturer, clinical supervisor, and course coordinator in the M.Sc. Genetic Counselling Program at the University of Toronto and holds a Project Investigator appointment in the Research Institute at SickKids.


Laura’s research interests include genetic diagnosis and adaptation to inherited cardiac conditions, access to genetic counselling for underserved populations and diversity and inclusion in genetic counselling education. Laura is currently leading a study to assess barriers experienced by potential students when applying to Genetic Counselling Master’s Degree Programs. She is a co-investigator of a national multi-centre study to develop and evaluate a decision aide for parents considering predictive genetic testing for their children for inherited cardiac conditions. She has been part of several studies investigating phenotype/genotype correlations in paediatric cardiomyopathies and inherited arrhythmias as well as processes for returning research results to cardiac patients.


  • 2002–2006: B.Sc. (Hons), Major in Biology/Minor in International Development Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
  • 2005: Canadian Field Studies in Africa, McGill University, Montreal, QC (Completed in Kenya)
  • 2007–2009: M.Sc. in Genetic Counselling, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2010–Present: American Board of Genetic Counseling Certification  


  • 2009–2013: Genetic Counsellor, Division of Clinical Genetics/Oncology, SickKids, Toronto, ON
  • 2009–2013: Research Genetic Counsellor, Canadian Paediatric Demyelinating Disease Study, Division of Neurology, SickKids, Toronto, ON
  • 2010–2011: Inter-professional Education Specialist, New Immigrant Support Network, SickKids, Toronto, ON
  • Jun 2013–Present: Genetic Counsellor, The Labatt Family Heart Centre, SickKids, Toronto, ON


  1. Papaz T, Liston E, Zahavich L, Stavropoulos DJ, Jobling RK, Kim RH, Reuter M, Miron A, Oechslin E, Mondal T, Bergin L, Smythe JF, Altamirano-Diaz L, Lougheed J, Akinrinade O, Breckpot J, Mital S. 2019. Return of Genetic and Genomic Research Findings: Experience of a Pediatric Biorepository. BMC Medical Genomics. Nov 27;12(1):173. doi: 10.1186/s12920-019-0618-0.
  2. Lafreniere-Roula, M, Bolkier, Y, Zahavich, L, Mathew, J, George, K, Wilson, J, Stephenson, E, Benson, L, Manlhiot, C, Mital, S.  2019. Family screening for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Is it time to change the guidelines? Eur Heart JJun 6. pii: ehz396. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz396
  3. Zahavich L, Tarnopolsky M, Yao R, Mital S. 2018. Novel Association of a De Novo CALM2 Mutation With Long QT Syndrome and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Circ Genom Precis Med. Oct;11(10):e002255. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGEN.118.002255 
  4. Mathew JZahavich L, Lafreniere-Roula MWilson JGeorge KBenson LBowdin SMital S. 2018Utility of genetics for risk stratification in pediatric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Clin Genet. Feb;93(2):310-319. doi: 10.1111/cge.13157. 
  5. Zahavich L, Bowdin SMital S. 2017. Use of Clinical Exome Sequencing in Isolated Congenital Heart Disease. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. Jun;10(3). pii: e001581. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.116.001581. 

See a full list of Laura's publications

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