Scientific and Clinical Advisors
Dr. Asmal is the vice president, head of clinical research and development, at bluebird bio, where he leads a team of 8 physicians, pharmacologists, and clinical scientists working on lentiviral-based gene therapy for sickle cell disease, thalassemia, adrenoleukodystrophy, and on an immuno-oncology pipeline for liquid and solid tumors. Before joining bluebird bio, Dr. Asmal was the medical director of clinical development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He is a medical scientist with broad range of therapeutic and research experience spanning small molecules and cell & gene therapy, and disease area expertise including hemoglobinopathies, neurometabolic disorders, solid and liquid tumor oncology, and infectious diseases (hepatitis C, HIV, influenza). Dr. Asmal is an American Board of Internal Medicine-certified practitioner of internal medicine and infectious disease at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is involved in the treatment of complex general medical and infectious conditions, and in the teaching of medical students and residents and fellows in training.
He received his MD from the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and subsequently completed his internship and residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.
Dr. Behfar is a consultant in the department of cardiovascular diseases where he is the co-director for innovation in biological agents/drugs. He holds a joint appointment in the department of physiology and biomedical engineering and molecular pharmacology. He joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 2014 and holds the academic rank of associate professor of medicine. Dr. Behfar is the Braswell Family Deputy Director of Translation, where he provides oversight of technological platforms, infrastructure, and clinical trials to advance new knowledge to clinical applications. Dr. Behfar also directs the Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program, where his team conducts cardiovascular regeneration research and develops technologies to repair heart tissues. He also serves as the medical director for the Advanced Product Incubator, a CGMP manufacturing facility designed to accelerate the development and use of regenerative products. Dr. Behfar has received the Howard Hughes Scholarship Award, the American College of Cardiology Herman K. Gold Young Investigator Award, and the American Society for Clinical and Pharmacology and Therapeutics Presidential Award. He has over 100 publications and has contributed to several United States and international patents in the biotherapeutics and device space.
Dr. Hershberger is a clinical advisor with over seventeen years of experience in leading development of small and large molecules across multiple therapeutic areas including cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Dr. Hershberger’s experience includes leading drug candidates through early and late stages of development with over 20 successful regulatory submissions in the US and globally. Dr. Hershberger has held a number of leadership positions in various levels of increasing responsibility at Pfizer, Cubist, Merck, and Visterra. She played a leading role in the development of Zerbaxa® and Cubicin® while serving as global program development lead at Merck and senior medical director at Cubist. At Visterra, she led the clinical and operation teams responsible for global development of novel biologic therapies.
Dr. Hershberger has a BS in chemistry, a doctorate in pharmacy, and completed a fellowship in infectious diseases PK/PD.
Dr. Mansour is a physician-scientist involved in the investigation of invasive fungal diseases and host immune responses. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician on the transplant and immunocompromised host service in the division of infectious diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Mansour obtained his MD and PhD degrees from Boston University School of Medicine. His PhD focused on host response to the human pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also served as chief medical resident, after which he completed the Harvard combined infectious diseases fellowship.
Dr. Mansour’s clinical work focuses mainly on the care of solid and bone marrow transplant patients with infectious complications. In addition, he maintains a basic and translational research laboratory investigating the critical molecular mechanisms responsible for host immunity to life-threatening fungal pathogens.
Dr. Shazly is an associate professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. The research in Dr. Shazly’s lab is focused on defining and characterizing relevant tissue properties for clinical applications and rationally designing polymeric biomaterials that leverage local biology to enhance therapeutic gain. His specific interests include physiological mechanical testing of soft matter, mechanical modeling, multiphysics-based computational modeling, tissue-material adhesion, and tissue scaffold engineering. Dr. Shazly obtained his masters in bioengineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD at MIT, Cambridge, in bio and polymeric materials science and engineering.