Skip Navigation
Phone: 800-275-6401

Faculty Page

Brenda Finucane, MS, LGC


Associate Director, Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute


Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute
120 Hamm Drive
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Phone: 570-522-9432
Fax: 570-522-9431


MS Human Genetics, Sarah Lawrence College, 1983-1985


Rare Diseases, Behavioral Health, Genetics, Autism, Genomics


Behavioral and cognitive phenotypes Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Autism, Intellectual disabilities, Genetic counseling


As a genetic counselor, I have a primary goal of helping individuals and families adapt to the medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic diagnoses. I have a particular interest in the behavioral and cognitive manifestations of fragile X, Smith-Magenis, 15q duplication, and other syndromes that result in complex intellectual and neuropsychiatric symptoms. My past research work has focused on describing and differentiating clinical aspects of genetic syndromes that cause autism and intellectual disabilities. By extension, I have spent much of my career working to translate clinical research findings into practical services that address the educational, behavioral, and health needs of people with genetic conditions. My experience with this population includes young children through adults, and I have a specific interest in research related to the natural history of behavioral phenotypes over the lifespan.

A new area of inquiry for me since joining the Geisinger ADMI team  is the study of family genetic background on phenotypic expression in individuals with genetic syndromes. My current work in this area includes research on families with fragile X syndrome, sex chromosome disorders, and 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Advances in our understanding of family genetic background influences on the severity and range of syndromic effects may someday improve our ability to provide accurate prognoses and targeted interventions.

An additional area of ongoing research relates to the integration of syndrome-specific neuropsychological information into special education curricula and behavior plans. I have a strong interest in the development of educational models for the training of special educators, psychologists, and other non-genetics professionals who are key service providers on the front lines of intervention for children with special developmental needs.


Nagy R, Peay H, Hicks M, Kloos J, Westman R, Conway L, Finucane B, Fitzpatrick J, Gordon E, Ramos E, Sekhon-Warren J, Silver J, Walton C, & Reiser C. (2015, Aug). Genetic counselors’ and genetic counseling students’ attitudes around the clinical doctorate and other advanced educational options for genetic counselors: A report from the Genetic Counseling Advanced Degree Task Force. Journal of Genetic Counseling , 24(4), 626-34.   

Finucane B, Challman TD, Martin CL, & Ledbetter DH . (2015, July). Shift happens: Family background influences clinical variability in genetic neurodevelopmental disorders. Genetics in Medicine , Epub ahead of print.   

Haas-Givler B. & Finucane B. (2014). On the Road to Success with SMS: A Smith-Magenis Guidebook for Schools. VA: PRISMS, Inc   

Conant K D, Finucane B, Cleary N, Martin A, Muss C, Delany M, Murphy E K, Rabe O, Luchsinger K, Spence S J, Schanen C, Devinsky O, Cook E H, LaSalle J, Reiter L T and Thibert R L. (2014, Mar). A survey of seizures and current treatments in 15q duplication syndrome. Epilepsia , 55(3):396-402.   

Finucane B, Haas-Givler B, Simon EW. (2013, Aug). Knowledge and perceptions about fragile X syndrome among autism professionals: Implications for diagnosis, intervention, and research. Intell Dev Dis , 51(4)226-36.   

Additional Links