This is Dr. Samira Asgari.
Dr. Asgari, a specialist in human genomics and genetics of infectious diseases, holds a doctorate from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. She authors papers with titles like, “Disease-Corrected Hepatocyte-Like Cells from Familial Hypercholesterolemia-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells,” and has given lectures on how rare genetic defects might make infants more susceptible to viral respiratory infections.
Last May, Soumya Raychaudhuri (PhD, MD), an associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, attended a talk by Dr. Asgari at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Dr. Raychaudhuri’s lab studies “the basis of autoimmune disease using techniques in human genetics, bioinformatics, and systems biology,” so both he and Dr. Asgari work in related fields.
He was impressed enough with her talk that he invited Dr. Asgari to work on a tuberculosis project at his laboratory. Dr. Asgari agreed, and was granted a J-1 Visa to work in the United States along with two years of funding for her research by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Earlier today, after months of planning, Dr. Asgari boarded a plane from Switzerland to Frankfurt. She then attempted to board a plane for the United States, where she was promptly rejected. You see, even though she lives in Switzerland, Dr. Asgari is an Iranian national. So she no longer qualifies for Trump’s America.
It doesn’t matter that she already had an approved Visa, and it certainly doesn’t matter than she was going to be engaged in high-level research aimed at defeating tuberculosis, Type 1 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. She’s Iranian. She’s Muslim. She’s not welcome. With no other choice, Dr. Asgari returned to Switzerland where she now has no job and no place to live.
This is who we are now.
Michael Arnovitz on Facebook