breann reinsch

Alumna Breann Reinsch Joins KGI Faculty as Assistant Professor of Genetics

Breann Reinsch graduated in May as part of Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)’s inaugural Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC) class, and will now be joining KGI’s faculty as Assistant Professor of Genetics. As part of her position, she has been tasked with creating a genetic counseling program at Pomona Valley Hospital, where she will be working with cancer patients. Reinsch has gotten the cancer program running within six weeks of being hired and hopes to soon expand into programs for cardiology patients followed by prenatal and pediatrics.

At KGI, Reinsch will be helping teach the Case Conference/ABGC Board Review, a colloquium that features guest speakers, encourages critical analysis of the literature, and helps students develop presentation skills. She will also be teaching the Capstone Project, which helps students complete their research project requirement.

Reinsch was drawn to the field of genetic counseling because it would enable her to help people in need. This desire was instilled in her by her father, a dentist.

“I was working for him as a dental assistant, and I saw how if his patients couldn’t pay for their dentistry, he would work with them on a barter system,” Reinsch said. “I wanted to further that in my career. I saw how genetic counseling can truly help not just one person but trickle out into families.”

As a student at KGI, Reinsch credits MSGC Program Director and Professor of Practice Ashley Mills for being a role model when it comes to forging a path of innovation and for encouraging Reinsch to pursue her own ambitious goals.

“She always told me to spread my wings and fly and never held me back with any of my crazy ideas.” 

“She’s not going to hold herself back by any constraints, and she’s going to go for things if she thinks it’s the right move,” Reinsch said.

One idea that Reinsch has been particularly interested in is the interplay of genetics and nutrition. Her thesis was on nutrition in the cancer setting, proposing that plant-based diets or at least incorporating more vegetables and fruits into your diet can help protect against cancers. She also sees nutrition as playing a key role in any genetic counseling program.

“You can help people decide what foods their body is better equipped to eat and process and produce the best energy,” Reinsch said.

Reinsch also views MSGC Associate Program Director and Assistant Professor Emily Quinn as a mentor.

“If you’re having a moment of panic in the program, she’s definitely someone that’s going to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Reinsch said.

In the same spirit, Reinsch acted as a mentor to her fellow classmates and will be continuing this role as a KGI professor.

“I have five different students that I’m mentoring, and in our first meeting we talked about study techniques and what works and what doesn’t, and I encouraged them to cater their studying to their own preferences rather than listening to what everybody else tells them to do,” Reinsch said. “I want them to be as successful in this program as they can be.”

Overall, Reinsch is excited for the school year as she takes on a position that is well-suited for her ambitious goals and shares her passion for the field with KGI students.

“I can’t say enough great things about KGI in my experience there, and I can’t wait to hopefully continue that theme with future classes,” Reinsch said.