Meet the Staff at Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine

Debra-Lynn Day-Salvatore, MD, PhD, FAAP, FACMG
Chair, Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine

Dr. Day-Salvatore received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.  Her residency training was in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Cleveland Clinical Foundation, and she completed two years of post-graduate training in Medical Genetics at UMDNJ.  Dr. Day-Salvatore is also a molecular biologist with a Ph.D. and Masters from New York University Medical Center's Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences specializing in pharmacogenetics. She is recipient of the UMDNJ Foundation's Excellence in Teaching Award for 1994-95, has been consistently voted a Top Doctor by NJ physicians, has authored or co-authored more than 50 scientific papers and book chapters, has made several guest appearances on radio and television, and has lectured both nationally and internationally. She is director of the Regional Center for Newborn Screening and Genetic Services for central New Jersey, chair of the New Jersey metabolic task force, and is a principal clinical trials investigator and consultant for lysosomal storage disease therapies. She is best known in the international lysosomal community for her interest in the management and treatment of lysosomal storage diseases during pregnancy and recognized nationally for championing newborn screening. 

Samantha Leib, MD

Dr. Leib graduated Magna cum Laude from Rutgers University. She received her medical degree and completed her pediatric residency at UMDMJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Leib is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is board certified in Pediatrics. Following her residency, she joined Union Hill Pediatrics. Dr. Leib is an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Saint Peter's University Hospital. She serves as the pediatric and development specialist for the Department of Genetics and Genomic Medicine and is the primary clinical coordinator for the newly implemented Genetics Outreach Program. She is a recipient of the Ruth Stein Ellen Clinical Teaching Award.


Michele Horner, MS, LGC
Genetic Counselor Supervisor

Michele is a board certified, licensed genetic counselor who has been with the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine since 1997. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and worked as a cytogenetic technologist prior to obtaining her Master’s Degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked at Cooper Hospital’s Genetics Division prior to joining Saint Peter’s. While at Saint Peter’s she has worked with various patient populations, including prenatal, pediatric, metabolic and adult, but has a special interest in cancer risk assessment and genetic counseling. Michele is an adjunct assistant professor with Rutgers University Department of Genetics where she lectures and mentors undergraduate students during clinical rotations as part of the Genetic Counseling Certificate program. She also supervises graduate student rotations.


Erin W. Dekanek, MS, LGC
Genetic Counselor

Erin is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree, she received a Master of Science degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of Pittsburgh. Her graduate thesis work focused on the knowledge and attitudes of primary care providers with regard to breast cancer genetics. She provides counseling services to pediatric, adult, and prenatal patients. Erin continues to be interested in risk assessment and predisposition testing for hereditary cancers. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. 


Kristin Levandoski
Kristin Levandoski, MS, LGC
Genetic Counselor

Kristin is a graduate of Fairfield University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology. She received her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling degree from Boston University. Kristin’s graduate thesis investigated the multidisciplinary approach to caring for children diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1. Kristin joins the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine following five years of experience as a prenatal genetic counselor in Boston, Massachusetts and Northern New Jersey. At Saint Peter’s University Hospital she provides genetic counseling services to pediatric, adult, and prenatal patients. Kristin is a board certified and licensed genetic counselor. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors


Andrea Siering, MS, RD, CSP

Andrea is a Registered Dietitian, who is Board Certified as a Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition. She currently works with children and adults who are affected with metabolic disorders and require restricted diets, specialty metabolic formulas, and medical foods to stay healthy and thrive. Before joining the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine, Andrea worked as an inpatient dietitian at Saint Peter’s University Hospital on the Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care Units. She has a wide variety of experience in Pediatrics, including oncology, feeding disorders, diabetes, epilepsy requiring the ketogenic diet, and critical care. She is a graduate of Drexel University where she received her Masters of Science in Human Nutrition. Andrea completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian-Hospital. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as well as the Pediatric Nutrition and Dietitians in Nutrition Support Practice Groups. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The College of New Jersey.


Mary Lou Brown, RN, BSN, CEN

Marylou is a registered nurse with more than 30 years’ experience, 28 of them at Saint Peter's University Hospital. Graduating from Borough of Manhattan Community College with an Associates of Science degree in Nursing, her primary focus was in emergency nursing. She has maintained board certification in Emergency Nursing, as well as Advanced Cardiac Life support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. In 2013, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, summa cum laude from Walden University, also achieving the Presidential Commendation for Academic Achievement Award. Marylou joined the department in 2003 as an infusion therapy nurse for lysosomal storage disorders and since has expanded her role to include triage and intake coordinator for the department.

Eileen Cusanelli, RN, BSN, CEN, RNC

Eileen is a registered nurse who attended Saint Peter's School of Nursing.  In 2018, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Walden University.  She holds certifications in ACLS, BLS, PALS and has her CEN and RNC.  Eileen has worked at Saint Peters for 23 years; 16 years in the Emergency Room, six years in Endoscopy/Same Day Surgery Recovery and currently in the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine.  She also worked at Jersey State Prison, an ENT Surgi-Center and as a private duty home nurse. She received two Starfish awards while working at Saint Peter's.  Eileen currently infuses patients who have lysosomal storage disorders such as Fabry, Pompe, MPS1 and Gaucher and works with the geneticists seeing patients who have genetic disorders or patients who are trying to find a diagnosis for symptoms they are having.

Donna Farren-Chavez
Donna Farren-Chavez
Intake Coordinator

Donna Farren-Chavez is a board-certified genetic counselor who is currently working as our Intake Coordinator.  Donna initially joined the staff as a genetic counselor in 1992 upon graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. She worked with prenatal, pediatric and adult patients and assisted the Craniofacial Team during her years with Genetics. After taking some time to be with her family, she is welcomed back to her new role using her experience as a genetic counselor to assist in triaging patients for our various clinics.

Silva Daniela
Daniela N. Silva, RN, BSN, CCRN

Daniela is a registered nurse who graduated from Seton Hall University School of Nursing. She is currently attending Drexel University to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing in Clinical Trials Research. She holds certification in Basic Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation Program, as well board certification in Critical Care Nursing (CCRN). Daniela has worked at Saint Peter's for over 12 years with a primary specialty in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She has recently expanded into the role of Clinical Nurse Researcher in the Department of Medical Genomics and Genomic Medicine. While at Saint Peter's University Hospital, Daniela has received a Daisy Award for Nursing Excellence and a Nursing Community Service Award for her role in philanthropy. Her multilingual background and diverse experience with patients and families, enables Daniela the ability to provide individualized care while fulfilling the need for Genetic Research. 

Erin Savage
Erin Savage
Education and Outreach

Erin is the Education, Outreach and Grant Coordinator for the Department.  Erin organizes student and resident rotations, sets up physician and community outreach, and maintains academic relationships for departmental growth.  Erin supports grant requirements for New Jersey Mandated Newborn Screening and tends to special projects at the direction of Dr. Day-Salvatore.  Erin has her Bachelors of Arts from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and has worked in development for five years.  She joined Saint Peter’s in 2015. 

Amida Sagastume
Billing Coordinator
Amida Sagastume has been the Financial Coordinator in our department since 2007. Prior to coming here she worked with the pediatric multispecialty Department as a medical biller/coder.  She is a certified medical coder with the American Academy of Professional Coders.  She is involved in the overall billing process, which includes reviewing for discrepancies between data gather and submissions for billing. She also works in collaboration with other departments within the hospital ensuring the billing process is a smooth one. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree at Thomas Edison State University

Erica Leon
Erica is the Registrar Receptionist for the Department. Erica works to insure that our patients are properly registered for their appointments by collecting and verifying patient information.  Prior to joining Saint Peter’s in January 2018, Erica worked for an insurance company and a cardiology group.  She is well versed in medical billing and coding, insurance claims, and customer service.  Erica is bilingual in English and Spanish.  She helps to process patient requests and follows our hospital policy guidelines protecting patient information.  She obtained her associates degree in Medical Sciences from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 2007.

Santos Yolanny
Yolanny Santos
Administrative Assistant
Yolanny began working at Saint Peter’s in 2015 in the Department of Pediatrics as a Receptionist Registrar before joining the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine as the Administrative Assistant. Her bilingual background assists our patients with their requests and she provides clerical support for our department. Yolanny has a broad range of experience in administration and was, also, previously employed as a Medical Assistant. Her philosophy centers around the role she can play in helping others find solutions. She is committed to excellence in service and takes pride in representing Saint Peter’s to the community, in the best light possible.

May Dionisio
Practice Coordinator 
May began her employment with Saint Peter’s University Hospital in the PET (Perinatal Evaluation and Treatment) Unit of Labor and Delivery in 2002. She joined the Department of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine in 2010 and has quickly risen through the ranks to her current position as Practice Coordinator. While working full time, she obtained certification in coding from Lincoln Technical Institute, and also obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management from American Intercontinental University Online.  In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the office practice, May serves as liaison with other hospital departments and administration. She continuously strives for departmental growth and excellence and coined its now well-known nickname – “#GeneTeam”. 

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