Ashlyn Bassiri, Ph.D.
Pharmacovigilance Lead, Hematology/Liver Programs, Spark Therapeutics
Ashlyn Bassiri grew up in Ohio as the daughter of a paramedic. “I really developed a love of potentially being a doctor,” she says. “That’s exactly what I envisioned doing with my career.”
As fate would have it, Bassiri became involved with research at an immunology lab in college. Today, she’s the pharmacovigilance lead in the hematology/liver programs at Philadelphia’s Spark Therapeutics. “I’ve had the opportunity to use my immunology experience from the beginning, from doing very basic science and identification of new targets, to actually getting immunology medicine into the clinic,” says Bassiri, who now lives in Radnor.
Bassiri’s research focuses on helping those who suffer from forms of hemophilia. “They have a gene defect where one of the proteins that helps blood clot is either nonfunctional or almost nonfunctional, so patients have to take a replacement clotting factor,” she says. “We’re trying to deliver a copy of the gene—not replace it. This makes an additional clotting factor—and if they have none, some clotting factor—to improve their quality of life.”
Part of Bassiri’s research involves patient reactions to specific medicines in clinical trials. And though she doesn’t interact with patients, it does harken back to her early love of medicine. “When you hear about how patients are doing on the medicine you’re trying to develop, it’s a huge confidence booster and a huge driver to keep moving forward,” she says.