About Me

My name is Ian MacFarlane, and I’m a research assistant professor in the Genetic Counseling Master’s Program in the Genetics, Cell Biology and Development Department at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. I received my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota in the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology department. I first learned about genetic counseling in graduate school, and while I am not a genetic counselor,  I have collaborated with them extensively on research, training, and service projects over the years. When the chance to help train new genetic counselors was presented to me, I enthusiastically joined.

My previous positions have been at liberal arts colleges, where I taught primarily mental health and research-focused courses in psychology departments. I’m trained as a researcher and as a psychotherapist, but my first love is teaching. In my current position, I balance mentoring students through their research theses, supporting faculty research projects, conducting my own studies, teaching research methods and data analysis, and departmental service. 

I’m originally from Minneapolis, MN, but have lived in several different regions of the country. After a year living in in Logan, UT, where I completed my doctoral internship at Utah State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, I took my first faculty position at Austin College in Texas. After sweltering in the heat for 4 years, I took a position at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania to get back to the land of forests, hills, and snow in the winter. After a few years, my winding road came back to Minnesota when the opportunity arose to join the Genetic Counseling Program.

When I have down time, I enjoy science fiction/fantasy, am a proud nerd, and a die hard MN Vikings and Timberwolves fan. If I wasn’t a psychologist, I think I would have made a heck of a wizard (just didn’t get an admission letter from Hogwart’s), but my career aptitude tests in junior high recommended I explore being a file clerk or librarian. I think I made a better choice for myself, and hopefully my students will agree.