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30 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion

Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.
Question 1 of 30
What is your knowledge regarding the connection between maternal age and genetic abnormalities?
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How to Answer
There is much speculation as to the causes of genetic abnormalities and maternal age is one thing that seems to be a link in some cases. Do you have any knowledge/experience with information to support this?
30 GENEWIZ Interview Questions
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  1. What is your knowledge regarding the connection between maternal age and genetic abnormalities?
  2. Are you familiar with Jacobsen syndrome?
  3. What made you choose a career in genome research?
  4. Do you have any experience/knowledge about "Cat Cry Syndrome"?
  5. Can you tell me two types of Trisomy 16?
  6. Being a healthcare provider is rewarding, but can also be very stressful at times. Can you share a situation that was difficult for you and how you worked through it?
  7. What do you know about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  8. Are you familiar with the physical characteristics of someone with Edwards Syndrome?
  9. If you were the person responsible for hiring new employees, what qualities would you be looking for during the interview? Do you feel that you display those qualities yourself?
  10. How would you describe "chromosomal translocation" to someone who is not a medical professional?
  11. What can you tell me about Robertsonian translocation?
  12. Are you familiar with patient teaching regarding Sickle Cell Anemia?
  13. At GENEWIZ we understand that changes occur in individual's lives and we try to assign projects accordingly. Do you anticipate any changes in your life within the next 12-24 months?
  14. Are you familiar with the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation?
  15. Can you think of some possible drawbacks to using knockout mice?
  16. What do you know about Tay-Sachs disease?
  17. What is the difference in monosomy and trisomy?
  18. Can you tell me how many chromosomes a human has and any fact you know about them?
  19. What do you know abouthe Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes?
  20. Do you know the differences in Type 1 and Type 2 Myotonic Dystrophy?
  21. GENEWIZ has researchers from various backgrounds and education levels. What are your thoughts regarding diversity in the workplace?
  22. What makes you think you will be successful at GENEWIZ?
  23. Have you ever been involved with securing funds for medical research?
  24. What do you know about cystic fibrosis?
  25. Do you know of a genetic disorder that primarily affects male individuals?
  26. What can you tell me about the three types of genetic disorders?
  27. Many people have voiced different opinions regarding embryonic stem cell transplants. What is your understanding of embryonic stem cell transplants and do you have thoughts about why some people are opposed to this?
  28. What makes Early Onset Familial Alzheimer's disease different from a "normal" diagnosis of Alzheimer's ?
  29. Do you know what some of the characteristic signs of Marfan Syndrome are?
  30. Can you recall a time that you may have had a disagreement with a boss or co-worker, and if so, how was it resolved?
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15 GENEWIZ, Inc. Answer Examples
1.
What is your knowledge regarding the connection between maternal age and genetic abnormalities?
There is much speculation as to the causes of genetic abnormalities and maternal age is one thing that seems to be a link in some cases. Do you have any knowledge/experience with information to support this?

Darby's Answer #1
"Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Some researchers believe that errors can crop up in the eggs' genetic material as they age which leads to genetic abnormalities in babies born to older mothers."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have read and done some studies on genetic abnormalities with relation to parental age. Because men produce new sperm throughout their lives, paternal age does not increase risk of chromosome abnormalities. Older women, however, are considered to be at higher risk of giving birth to babies with chromosome abnormalities than younger women. This is thought to be so because women are born with all the eggs they will have for their lifetime and, as those eggs age, the genetic material within the eggs is thought to change."
2.
Are you familiar with Jacobsen syndrome?
Genome research is one of the most in depth areas of medical research. There are a variety of different chromosomal abnormalities/syndromes and Jacobsen syndrome is one of the more rare. If you have any knowledge regarding this syndrome, share it with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am familiar with the disorder, but have never directly cared for a patient with the syndrome. It's my understanding that Jacobsen syndrome results from a loss of genetic material at the end of the long arm of chromosome 11. It results in varying symptoms, but most individuals experience delayed development in motor skills and speech, learning difficulties, and some behavioral problems."
Darby's Answer #2
"Individuals with Jacobsen syndrome are missing genetic material from the end of the long arm of chromosome 11 and have extra genetic material from another chromosome. Characteristics include distinctive facial features; delayed development of motor skills and speech; and cognitive impairment."
3.
What made you choose a career in genome research?
This is a simple question that will speak volumes to the interviewer. With so many career choices available, the interviewer is curious to know what made you choose this profession. If you experienced something in your past that made you appreciate a healthcare provider, share that experience. This is a perfect opportunity for the interviewer to know you on a personal level.

"I have always had an interest in medicine and genetics is fascinating to me. It just seemed like a logical choice for me to begin a career in genome research."
Darby's Answer #1
"I have always had an interest in medicine and genetics is fascinating to me. It just seemed like a logical choice for me to begin a career in genome research."
Darby's Answer #2
"One of my cousins who is several years younger than me was born with genetic abnormalities. When I was a kid I always said I was going to 'grow up and find a way to fix him.' Even though I couldn't do that, I always had a desire to study genetics and be a part of the development of new ways to predict and treat genetic abnormalities."
4.
Do you have any experience/knowledge about "Cat Cry Syndrome"?
When interviewing for genome research positions, the interviewer may ask you about different genetic disorders. Remember, no one is expected to know every diagnosis or have a complete understanding of every disorder. If you have heard of a syndrome or disorder that the interviewer asks about, share what you know. If you are asked about something that you have no experience with, say so and show an interest in learning.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have never learned about Cat Cry Syndrome. There are so many genetic abnormalities and I am so intrigued by them. The opportunities to be exposed to more education with genome research is why I chose to apply for employment here at GENEWIZ, Inc.."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have heard of Cat Cry Syndrome. I believe the clinical name is Cri du Chat syndrome and it is caused by missing a piece of chromosome 5. Symptoms include a high-pitched cry that sounds like a cat (hence the name Cat Cry Syndrome), downward slant of the eyes, partial webbing of fingers or toes, and slow or incomplete development of motor skills."
5.
Can you tell me two types of Trisomy 16?
Trisomy 16 is a chromosomal abnormality in which there are 3 copies of chromosome 16 rather than two. It is the most common trisomy leading to miscarriage and the second most common chromosomal cause of it, closely following X-chromosome monosomy. While interviewers do not expect you to know the details of every chromosomal abnormality, understanding some of them and being able to describe characteristics is favorable in an interview.

Darby's Answer #1
" Full Trisomy 16 occurs when an individual has three copies of chromosome 16 instead of the usual two and Mosaic Trisomy 16 is a rare disorder in which an extra chromosome 16 is present in some cells, but not all."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am familiar with Mosaic Trisomy 16and Full Trisomy 16. Mosaic trisomy 16 is rare and shows patients having an extra chromosome 16 is present in only some cells. Full Trisomy 16 which is caused by someone having three copies of chromosome 16 instead of the usual two and is the most common chromosomal cause of miscarriage during the pregnancy's first trimester. Some common symptoms include intrauterine growth retardation and congenital heart defects."
6.
Being a healthcare provider is rewarding, but can also be very stressful at times. Can you share a situation that was difficult for you and how you worked through it?
The interviewer recognizes that, while being a healthcare provider has its benefits, it can often be trying at times. This question gives you the chance to show how your vulnerability meets your strengths. Having balance between the two is a sought-after characteristic of healthcare providers. Being willing to open up to the interviewer about a situation that was emotional for you and how you were able to cope will show him what can be expected of you when you are faced with a difficult situation in the future.

Darby's Answer #1
"I agree that being a healthcare provider has its stressful situations. One case that I will never forget occurred when I worked pediatrics. We had a four year old child that was admitted due to having seizures. After further testing, it was discovered that the child had a brain tumor. The tumor was very advanced and she lost her life because of it. That time was very emotional for everyone on the care team. Fortunately, we had a good team leader who gave us an opportunity to talk with her and one another about the overwhelming grief that we felt. I have found that talking through emotions is a great way to work through any unresolved grief."
Darby's Answer #2
"I believe we all experience stress from time to time. Whether it is work related or something outside of work, if I begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed, I try to take a step back from whatever I am doing and refocus. For me, making lists of things that need to be accomplished during the day often helps me to not become too stressed. It keeps me on task and knowing what to expect next."
7.
What do you know about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is an inherited, genetic condition. It occurs when there are mutations in the genes that affect the nerves in your feet, legs, hands and arms. Researching common types of genetic abnormalities and being able to discuss them with the interviewer shows that you have a genuine interest in learning. Remember, you are not expected to know everything. Share the knowledge you do have and always show an attitude of interest in learning.

Darby's Answer #1
"Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of inherited disorders that cause nerve damage. The damage occurs mostly in the arms and legs. Charcot-Marie-Tooth is also called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy."
Darby's Answer #2
"Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease results in smaller, weaker muscles. Some patients experience loss of sensation and muscle contractions, and difficulty walking. Foot deformities such as hammertoes and high arches are also common."
8.
Are you familiar with the physical characteristics of someone with Edwards Syndrome?
There are some characteristics that are seen in almost all patients with a genetic abnormality. Others are specific to a certain syndrome/disorder. If genetic testing was not performed before the birth of a child, or no reason to suspect a genetic abnormality, medical advice may not be sought until physical characteristics or mental delays begin to appear. Some of the characteristics found with Edwards Syndrome are as follows:

Darby's Answer #1
"Patients with Edwards syndrome may exhibit some symptoms including clenched hands, feet with a rounded bottom, mental deficiency, underdeveloped fingernails, and an unusually shaped chest."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have not studied Edwards Syndrome in depth. However, if I remember correctly, a few of the significant signs are fingernails that are not well developed and feet that appear rounded on the bottom."
9.
If you were the person responsible for hiring new employees, what qualities would you be looking for during the interview? Do you feel that you display those qualities yourself?
There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers."
Darby's Answer #2
"Having worked in human resources before, I know that each interviewer looks for different things. I always looked for someone who had a genuine interest in learning and in being a team player. Although many positions require independent work, at the end of the day, we all have the same goals and should be able to work well with one another. I believe I have those qualities and look forward to proving that if I am offered a position here at GENEWIZ, Inc.."
10.
How would you describe "chromosomal translocation" to someone who is not a medical professional?
Not everyone understands medical terminology and definitions. At times, information has to be explained in a way that someone without medical training can understand (parents, children, etc.) The interviewer wants to know that you are able to communicate effectively with people who may not have the same medical training as you.

Darby's Answer #1
"After working in the medical field for so long, I have to remind myself sometimes that not everyone understands our language. If I were to describe chromosomal translocation to a non-medical person, I would tell them, 'Inside of each of your cells are thread-like structures made up of parts called chromosomes. These tightly wound threads are what people mean when they refer to your DNA. It's a blueprint for cell growth that makes every cell in your body unique to you. It's like a puzzle. A chromosomal translocation is the term used to describe when two parts of the puzzle thread join in a way that doesn't fit.'"
Darby's Answer #2
"If I had to explain chromosomal translocation to someone I would use the idea of a jigsaw puzzle. I would probably say, 'Imagine a jigsaw puzzle that snaps together to create a spiral staircase. That's how your DNA is structured. Each piece of your DNA strand belongs in a specific place, ensuring that your cells can split apart and multiply with your DNA imprinted inside each one. A chromosomal translocation is the word we use to describe when two parts of the puzzle join, but don't fit the puzzle. This results in an abnormality."
11.
What can you tell me about Robertsonian translocation?
Many genetic abnormalities present problems for the patient with the abnormal genes. Some, however, like those with Robertsonian translocation may not experience issues, but may pass the gene on to their children. Share your knowledge with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"In most cases, there are no symptoms or visible signs of a Robertsonian translocation. Depending on where in the DNA the translocation occurs, it's very likely that a patient won't experience any side effects of the DNA chain being abnormal. Since chromosomes come in pairs, a patient can have a Robertsonian translocation that disrupts the DNA strand, but leaves the patient with all of the genetic information needed for r cells to multiply correctly. That's why many people with this condition go through life without ever knowing that they have it."
Darby's Answer #2
"Many people with Robertsonian translocation go through life without ever knowing that they have it. However, even if a Robertsonian translocation doesn't present a problem within a patient's DNA, she may become a carrier of the translocation. This means there's a possibility of passing missing or extra DNA on to their children. Multiple miscarriages, difficulty getting pregnant, and pregnancies in which the fetus develops a trisomy or other genetic abnormality could be a sign that someone has this translocation."
12.
Are you familiar with patient teaching regarding Sickle Cell Anemia?
Although many researchers pass information on to other healthcare providers who are responsible for patient education, it is still important to be able to explain a disorder. The interviewer wants to know what you would tell someone if you were the one providing patient education on Sickle Cell Disease. Share your knowledge.

Darby's Answer #1
"Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a 'sickle.' When they travel through small blood vessels, they get stuck and clog the blood flow. This can cause pain and other serious problems such infection."
Darby's Answer #2
"Sickle cell anemia is a disease in which the body produces abnormally shaped red blood cells that have a crescent or sickle shape. These cells do not last as long as normal, round, red blood cells, which leads to anemia (low number of red blood cells). The sickle cells also get stuck in blood vessels, blocking blood flow."
13.
At GENEWIZ we understand that changes occur in individual's lives and we try to assign projects accordingly. Do you anticipate any changes in your life within the next 12-24 months?
Knowing what goals you have and any changes you anticipate in your life will give the interviewer an opportunity to evaluate two things: 1. what positions are available that won't disrupt your plans and, 2. are you interested in having a long-term relationship within the company?

Darby's Answer #1
"I recently became engaged. Although we have not set a date yet, we have agreed to wait twelve months before the marriage. My fiance' just passed the Bar exam here and has been offered an opportunity to join an existing law firm. Presently, our plans are to stay where we are and build a career, not just work a job. Also, we do not plan on having children for at least two years after our marriage. We both feel that being able to become established in our careers and save for our future would be the responsible thing to do before starting a family."
Darby's Answer #2
"I do not anticipate any significant changes in my life that would disrupt any work assignments. I have reached a point in my career where I can stay for the long-term. I understand GENEWIZ, Inc. has both long-term and short-term projects and I would be willing to work on either and work my way up to a longer term assignment."
14.
Are you familiar with the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation?
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was first used as a treatment for some types of cancer but is now widely used as a therapy for various autoimmune diseases. If you have any knowledge/experience with this type of therapy, share it with the interviewer.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have never worked on any project that involved hematopoetic stem cell transplantation, but it is my understanding that it involves the IV infusion of stem cells to reestablish hematopoietic function in patients whose bone marrow or immune system is damaged or defective."
Darby's Answer #2
"I did some studies on the blood's role in wellness and disease processes. Part of that research involved studying the use of hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT). Although it can be used to treat cancer, HSCT is not considered to be an oncological procedure, but is still referred to as a hematological process."
15.
Can you think of some possible drawbacks to using knockout mice?
A knockout mouse is a laboratory mouse in which researchers have inactivated, or 'knocked out,' an existing gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA. The loss of gene activity often causes changes in a mouse's phenotype, which includes appearance, behavior and other observable physical and biochemical characteristics. The interviewer knows what knockout mice are used for, but can you think of a reason that their use may not be beneficial?

Darby's Answer #1
"I understand the importance of being able to test using laboratory mice. However, I can also see where there may be some drawbacks. For instance, about 15 percent of gene knockouts are developmentally lethal, which means that the genetically altered embryos cannot grow into adult mice. This lack of adult mice limits studies to embryonic development. In some instances, the gene may serve a different function in adults than in developing embryos."
Darby's Answer #2
"Knocking out a gene may fail to produce an observable change in a mouse or may produce different characteristics from those observed in humans who experience the same inactivated gene. For example, mutations in the p53 gene are associated with more than half of human cancers and often lead to tumors in a particular set of tissues. However, when the p53 gene is knocked out in mice, the animals develop tumors in a different array of tissues. Although there may be some drawbacks, I still feel the benefits of using knockout mice for testing are still profound."
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