Wonderwise

About the Scientist

Cathy Burson investigates diseases caused by genes. One of Cathy's patients is a little boy named Jason, who was diagnosed at birth with a rare genetic disorder called Pompe disease. Jason is one of three children in the United States who is receiving an experimental treatment for the disease. Without the treatment Jason would die.

Cathy meets with Jason in her clinic at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, visits a DNA testing lab, examines chromosomes under a microscope, and shares information about Jason's genetic problem with children at a local school.

Cathy Burson Photo

Biography of Cathy Burson

Find out more about Cathy on the Genetic Counselor CD-ROM. The complete biography is 3 pages and includes a glossary.

If a baby is born with a disease, Cathy Burson helps families find out why it happened and what they can do for their baby. Cathy is a genetic counselor. Her job is to look at information carried in our genes for answers to health problems.

Cathy Burson with a patientGenes are tiny packages of instructions in our cells that tell our body how to function and grow. We inherit our genes from our parents. Most of the time, genes give clear instructions to the body.

But sometimes a gene doesn't work and the instructions get scrambled up, causing a disease. Genetic counselors are trained to explain to families about the risks of passing on a genetic disease and about treating a disease once it occurs.

(excerpted from the biography written by Sarah Disbrow. The entire biography is available on the Genetic Counselor CD-ROM.)

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9909496.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and
do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).