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Riyana Babul Hirji

Title: Genetic Counsellor, Division of Clinical & Metabolic Genetics
Designations: M.Sc., CGC
U of T Positions: Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics

Research Positions

Project Investigator
SickKids Research Institute


Riyana Babul-Hirji is an ABGC-certified genetic counsellor in the Department of Genetic Counselling. She joined SickKids in 1993 and is currently affiliated with numerous specialty clinics including the Multidisciplinary Urogenital (MUG) clinic. Riyana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and an Assistant Program Director - Operations of the M.Sc. program in Genetic Counselling. She holds a Project Investigator appointment at SickKids Research Institute. Her areas of clinical specialty include autism and disorders of sexual differentiation. 


Qualitative research, as it pertains to the provision of genetic counselling, is of great interest to Riyana. Her current research areas include genetic counselling student mental health and barriers/equity/diversity in the genetic counselling profession.

Education and experience

  • 1991–1993: M.Sc. in Genetic Counselling, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec 
  • 1993–Present: Genetic Counsellor, Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics/Department of Genetic Counselling, SickKids, Toronto, Ontario  
  • 2013–Present: Assistant Program Director - Operations, M.Sc. Program in Genetic Counselling, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario


  • 2010: Nominated and selected as a Master Genetic Counsellor for the Jane Engleberg Memorial Fellowship Project, National Society of Genetic Counsellors
  • 2018–2019: Interprofessional Staff Award in recognition of excellence in teaching, SickKids, 2018-2019 academic year


  1. Szybowska M, Hewson S, Antle B, Babul-Hirji R:  Meeting the informational needs of adolescents with a genetic condition: What do they want to know? J Genet Couns. 2007 Apr;16(2):201-10.
  2. Babul-Hirji R, Hewson S, Frescura M:  An exploration of genetic counselling discourse:  a sociolinguistic study.  Patient Education and Counseling.  2010 Jan;78(1):40-45.
  3. *Hayeems RZ, *Babul-Hirji R, Hoang N, Weksberg R, Shuman C.  Parents’ Experience with Pediatric Microarray:  Transferrable lessons in the era of genomic counselingJ  Genet Couns. 2016 Apr25(2): 298-304.  *Co-first authors
  4. Pichini A, Shuman C, Sappleton K, Kaufman M Chitayat D, Babul-Hirji R Experience with genetic counseling:  the adolescent perspective. J of Genetic Counsel 2016 Jun;25(3): 583-595. 
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