Doctoral Candidate

Entered 2014

Tuesdays 1-2pm, email for appointment





MS, Arcadia University, Genetic Counseling
BA, Barnard College, American Studies


Rebecca Mueller is a sixth year doctoral candidate in Penn’s History and Sociology of Science department. Mueller studied American Studies at Barnard College before receiving her masters degree in genetic counseling at Arcadia University. As a genetic counselor, Mueller is affiliated with Penn's Abramson Cancer Center ands serves as a course director at Penn’s new genetic counseling program. Before pursuig doctoral study, Mueller served as the inaugural outreach coordinator for Penn’s Basser Center where she established a long-standing interest in oncology evidenced by collaborative research on the patient experience of hereditary cancer risk and novel methods for delivering cancer genetics care. 




Research Interests

Mueller’s research cuts across genetic counseling and medical humanities. Her dissertation, “The Genome and the Biome: Risk and the Reconfiguration of Cystic Fibrosis Sociality,” takes the relatively common genetic disease cystic fibrosis as a case study of novel diagnostic technologies, risk, and sociality, in a story that highlights ethical, legal, and social implications of genetics and microbiome research. Mueller’s work traces how a bacterial epidemic in the CF patient population irrevocably altered patient experience as policy-makers made efforts to mitigate infectious risk. With increasingly austere guidelines calling for the physical separation of CF patients from one another, the CF story is especially prescient in the era of Covid-19. 

She has performed qualitative research on career paths for genetic counselors, the clinical integration of whole-exome and chromosomal microarray testing, and the patient experience of BRCA1/2 and cystic fibrosis. In addition to her doctoral work, Mueller leads a qualitative study aimed at characterizing the rapid transition to telegenetics amidst Covid-19 in collaboration with colleagues at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn’s Genetic Counseling Program. This research that aims to characterize institutional experience with this model of care as well as the implications for supervising genetic counseling students on telegenetics platforms. 

Selected Work

Powers J, Spielman K, Mueller R, et al. Genetic counseling and oncology: proposed approaches forcollaborative care delivery. Can J Urol. 2019;26(5 Suppl 2):57-59.

Werner-Lin AL, Ersig AL, Mueller R, Young JL, Hoskins LM, Desai R, Greene MH. Catalysts towards cancer risk management action: A longitudinal study of reproductive-aged women with BRCA1/2 mutations. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology (June 4: 1-16 doi: 10.1080/07347332.2018.1469565.

Werner-Lin A, Zaspel L, Carlson M, Mueller R, Walser S, Desai R, Bernardt B. Gratitude, protective buffering, and cognitive dissonance: How families respond to pediatric whole exome sequencing in the absence of actionable results. Am J Med Genet A. 2018;176(3):578-588.

Young JL, Werner-Lin A, Mueller R, Hoskins L, Epstein N, Greene M. Following BRCA1/2 mutation-positive women during their reproductive years: a longitudinal case series. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology 35(4): 393-408, 2017.

Walser S; Werner-Lin A; Mueller R; Miller VA, Biswass S, Bernhardt B. How do providers discuss the results of pediatric exome sequencing with families? Personalized Medicine 14(5): 409-422, 2017.

Bradbury A, Patrick-Miller L, Harris D, Stevens E, Egleston B, Smith K, Mueller R, Brandt A, Stopfer J, Rauch S, Forman A, Kim R, Fetzer D, Fleisher L, Daly M, Domchek S. Utilizing Remote Real-Time Videoconferencing to Expand Access to Cancer Genetic Services in Community Practices: A Multicenter Feasibility Study. J Med Internet Res. 18(2): 1-15, 2016.

Valverde K, Mueller R, Paciotti B, Conway L. An Exploratory Study of Employers Attitudes Towards a Clinical Doctorate in Genetic Counseling. J Genet Couns. 25(1):179-88, 2016.

Lindee S, Mueller R. Is cystic fibrosis genetic medicine’s canary? Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 54(3): 316-331, 2011. 



History and Sociology of Science, doctoral candidate

Basser Center for BRCA, Abramson Cancer Center, genetic counselor, former outreach coordinator

University of Pennsylvania Masters Program in Genetic Counseling, Course Director

Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Associate Fellow

Courses Taught

I teach a graduate course on Ethical Issues in Genetic Counseling and have assisted teaching Comparative Medicine and Technology Society to Penn undergraduates. 

Faculty Bookshelf