Sarah Brnich

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Sarah is a graduate student in the Curriculum in Genetics and Molecular Biology and in her fifth year of the MD-PhD program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She graduated in 2011 from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Spanish. Her undergraduate research studied changes in gene expression during induced cell differentiation in a human leukemia cell line. After graduation, she gained valuable experience as a laboratory research assistant the Clinical Pharmacology Program at the National Cancer Institute, and later at the Genomics Resource Center at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She also worked as a Medical Assistant at the Maryland Pediatric Group in Lutherville, MD.

In 2012, Sarah was awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Grant to study the molecular profiles of breast cancer in Latina women in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She spent nine months working with investigators at the Fundación Instituto Leloir and physicians at a public cancer hospital to characterize the distribution of breast cancer subtypes in Argentinian women for the first time as part of the international pilot project of the US-Latin America Cancer Research Network.

In the Berg lab, Sarah is interested in developing methods of classifying germline genetic variants by their functional consequence, with the long-term goal of improving the clinical interpretation of variants of uncertain significance.

Outside of lab, Sarah enjoys dancing, running, traveling, trivia, volunteering at UNC’s student-run health clinic, and any opportunity to use her Spanish language skills. Sarah plans to pursue a career as a physician-scientist, combining clinical interests in pediatrics with her research interests in genetics.


Brnich SE, Rivera-Muñoz EA, Berg JS. Quantifying the potential of functional evidence to reclassify variants of uncertain significance in the categorical and Bayesian interpretation frameworks. Hum Mutat. 2018 Aug 10. doi: 10.1002/humu.23609. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30095857.

Strande NT, Brnich SE, Roman TS, Berg JS. Navigating the nuances of clinical sequence variant interpretation in Mendelian disease. Genet Med. 2018 Jul 10. doi: 10.1038/s41436-018-0100-y. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 29988079.