Sasha Henriques

doctoral candidate

Sasha Henriques

For decades there has been debate around the correct use of population descriptors in genomics. Still inclusion of data from global ethnic majority groups (GEM) are often underrepresented in genomic data sets. Having been a Genetic Counsellor for over 10 years I have experienced how even modest increases in data diversity can transform the understanding of a family’s disease. I am keen to explore the tools needed by genomic researchers to obtain representative data and carry out research that translates into equitable healthcare outcomes for all populations.

Sasha is a PhD student carrying out an innovative new PhD project, developed by Wellcome Connecting Science and the Wellcome Sanger Institute to explore structural inequalities in genomic research.

Sasha is a principal genetic counsellor currently on sabbatical from Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS trust, UK and a committee member of the Association of the UK Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC).

She has a background in science communication and public engagement. In the last 10 years she has specialised in cardiac genetics while maintaining an interest in meeting the needs of all cultural groups through policy, research, and clinical care in genomics.

During her career she also worked for 18 months as a genetic counsellor in Johannesburg, South Africa. This direct experience of the model of genomics in a very disparate culture to the UK led to the development of a package of cross-cultural teaching for genetic counsellors. This is now a taught component of the MSc in Genetic Counselling at Cardiff University and the Scientist Training Programme (STP) for genomic counsellors in England which has received a Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Manchester.

She is an advocate for sharing knowledge with communities and believes that true inclusivity in genomics goes far beyond the patient-clinician interaction, as such she co-founded Genetics Engage a public engagement platform to promote inclusivity in all things genetic.