As an undergraduate, Dr. Ryan Moslin had an epiphany that would foreshadow his career as a biopharmaceutical researcher. During chemistry lectures, while most of his peers struggled to maintain interest, Dr. Moslin felt as if he’d finally discovered an outlet for his creative drive.
“I fell in love with organic synthesis during my education,” he says. “It’s an extremely creative field, and one I had an aptitude for. Soon, I learned I could apply science to develop medicines that could help patients and, in a small way, change the world.”
Ultimately, Dr. Moslin’s passion led him to join the immunoscience research team at Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2010. Today, he researches treatments for autoimmune diseases like lupus, a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own organs, tissues and cells.
The complex nature of lupus makes it inherently challenging to study, as the disease pathology can vary widely from patient to patient. In fact, lupus is often misdiagnosed as another condition or, worse, merely as a figment of a patient’s imagination. Additionally, lupus largely stems from an overactive immune system. Finding ways to “turn down” the immune system without inhibiting so much that it cannot continue to fight against disease is a difficult balance to strike. Beyond that, the optimal treatment for one patient may not be the right solution for someone else.
“Lupus is one of the most challenging of the autoimmune diseases,” says Dr. Moslin. “But we, as an industry, are coming at it from multiple angles and are committed to bringing new treatments to patients.”
The Driving Force
The drug development process is often lengthy, difficult and fraught with setbacks, but Dr. Moslin is not one to shy away from a challenge.
“Everything about this field inspires me, even the fact that my solutions fail most of the time,” he says. “Setbacks are part of the scientific process, and they inspire me to keep going.”
“Everything we take for granted was once a new idea. Modern medicine is not possible without innovation. Nothing is possible without innovation. It is what drives us as a species.”
Nevertheless, Dr. Moslin is quick to point out that the challenges faced by researchers pale in comparison to those faced by patients.
“Autoimmune conditions can be debilitating, but many patients keep a positive attitude and an infectious optimism, all while continuing to help those around them,” he says. “This resilience pushes me to bring them better treatment options as quickly and safely as possible.”
Challenges and Collaboration
Despite his ability to draw inspiration from disappointment, Dr. Moslin maintains managing setbacks is the hardest part of his job. This is especially true for a field in which failure is more common than success.
“Recovering from setbacks is hard, but it needs to happen,” he says. “As a scientist, you have to be willing to take the lessons learned and move forward.”
Over time, this resilient attitude will be the key to discovering the next breakthrough treatment, which Dr. Moslin feels is not far off.
“We’re making advances we never dreamed were possible 10 or 15 years ago,” Dr. Moslin says. “We’re eternally grateful to the patient community and for your patience, your endurance and your strength. We couldn’t do this work without you.”
GET THE LATEST IN INNOVATION NEWS
Innovation is headed to your inbox.
Subscribe to receive the latest in medical innovation, treatment insights, and inspirational stories.