Medical Genetics Lab

Your Medical Genetics Lab

The team at the Sanford Medical Genetics Lab uses your DNA to unlock answers about your health. Our laboratory geneticists and genetic counselors provide risk assessment and education to patients at risk for or diagnosed with a genetic condition.

We work to provide comprehensive laboratory services, support services, clinical expertise and medical consultations. Our lab puts state-of-the-art technology in the hands of experienced professionals to provide services you can trust.

Visit us at Sanford Imagenetics in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Our Genetic Testing Services

We offer a wide variety of genetic testing and interpretation services such as:

  • Arrays and microarrays
  • Copy number variant analysis
  • DNA sequencing (Sanger)
  • Fragile X testing
  • Pharmacogenomics

The Sanford Medical Genetics Lab is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA). We are licensed in California, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Our Laboratory Team

In the lab, our team includes:

  • Clinical staff scientists
  • Genetic lab specialists
  • Genetic lab technicians
  • Lab directors
  • Lab quality specialists
  • Lab supervisors

We also work with certified genetic counselors to provide support and education to providers and patients.

Meet the Team

Michele Erickson-Johnson

Michele Erickson-Johnson, PhD

Sr. Director, Laboratory Operations, Sanford Medical Genetics Lab and Enterprise Laboratory Quality

Dr. Michele Erickson-Johnson serves as the senior director for laboratory operations, Sanford Medical Genetics Lab and enterprise laboratory quality. She has produced over 70 abstracts and publications. Previously, Dr. Erickson-Johnson served as the clinical laboratory general lab manager, technical supervisor and chief safety officer at Kailos Genetics and held an academic appointment as an associate professor in laboratory medicine and pathology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

She received a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and a Master of Science in microbiology from North Dakota State University and her Doctor of Philosophy in health science (concentration in molecular pathology) from Trident University. Dr. Erickson-Johnson is board certified as a high-complexity clinical laboratory director (HCLD) in molecular diagnostics (via the American Board of Bioanalysis) and molecular pathology (via the American Society for Clinical Pathology).

Dr. Erickson-Johnson currently has an academic appointment as an assistant professor through the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and is a member of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA), Compass Group – Laboratory Leaders, Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG).

Debbie Figueroa

Debbie Figueroa, PhD

Laboratory Director

Dr. Debbie Figueroa serves as one of the laboratory directors for the Sanford Medical Genetics Laboratory at the Imagenetics building. She completed two postdoctoral fellowships. Most recently, her research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute focused on characterizing the role and mechanism by which apolipoproteins modulate fibrogenesis in the context of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. During her postdoctorate in the biological science department at Florida State University, Dr. Figueroa identified epigenetic changes in the X-linked macrosatellite repeat DXZ4 that were coincident with human embryonic stem cell differentiation. Dr. Figueroa completed her fellowship in laboratory genetics and genomics at the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health and received a doctoral degree and a Bachelor of Science in biology at Florida State University. Dr. Figueroa is a member of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Rachel D. Starks

Rachel D. Starks, MD, PhD

Molecular and Clinical Pathologist

Dr. Rachel D. Starks is a physician in the Sanford Medical Genetics Lab. She attended medical school at the University of Iowa. Dr. Starks completed a pathology residency, as well as surgical pathology and molecular genetics pathology fellowships.

Her PhD work was performed in an interdisciplinary molecular and cellular biology program. During her residency, she worked on a laboratory management project related to auto verification rules for complete blood count (CBC) labs. Her work resulted in a publication. She’s also co-authored case studies for rare genetic disorders.

Dr. Starks believes in providing the highest level of patient care through personalized genomic medicine.

Learn More

Available Genetic Tests

Our team provides comprehensive testing for a variety of genetic disorders.

  • Basic PharmGx panel
  • Chromosome Microarray, Congenital
  • Chromosome Microarray with 5-Cell
  • Chromosome Analysis Reflex, Congenital
  • Chromosome analysis, Congenital Disorders
  • Chromosome Microarray (CMA) Familial Testing, FISH
  • CYP2C cluster genotyping
  • CYP2C19 genotyping
  • CYP2C9 genotyping
  • CYP2D6 genotyping
  • CYP3A5 genotyping
  • CYP4F2 genotyping
  • DPYD genotyping
  • Fragile X CGG repeat expansion analysis
  • IFNL3 genotyping
  • Sex-Determining Region Y, Yp11.3 Deletion, FISH and Chromosome Analysis, Congenital
  • SLCO1B1 genotyping
  • TPMT genotyping
  • VKORC1 genotyping
  • Williams Syndrome, 7q11.23 Deletion, FISH

View Full Sanford Lab Test Catalog

Our Partnerships


In partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and a generous donation from Denny Sanford, we offer free PGx testing to VA patients.

Learn More About the Partnership

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Nicklaus Children’s Biobank collects biological specimens from volunteers to contribute to scientific knowledge.

Learn More