I am Ishir Bhan, a nephrologist trained in clinical research and medical informatics. After many years in academic medicine, I joined the pharmaceutical industry to help transform scientific advances into safe and effective therapies for patients. Outside of work, I have a passion for technology, cooking, and coffee.
After graduating from Harvard College in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, I earned an medical doctorate at Harvard Medical School and then went on to train in Internal Medicine and Nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Along the way, I earned a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. I spent eight years on the staff at MGH as a nephrologist and clinical researcher. Broadening my horizons, I switched to the pharmaceutical industry in 2006 by joining the Drug Safety group at Biogen. I see traditional medicine, public health and industry as being critical partners in advancing healthcare and am grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to the field in so many ways.
As a child, I was an avid explorer of the first personal computers, programming and tinkering with the machines like the Apple IIc and the early Macintosh models. In college, I saw the transition from technologies like Gopher to the world wide web, and was able to develop some of the first student-led websites at Harvard. As I entered medicine, I continued my passion for technology. At MGH, I developed Apprentice, a web based system for keeping track of patient information and shared task lists, and Mojo, an iPhone app designed to simplify secure access to patient information for providers. I remain enthusiastic about finding new applications of technology. My hobbiest recent projects have included home automation with Apple’s HomeKit.
I love making creations that people can enjoy, and cooking drew my attention from a young age. My mother loved to tell the story of how, at the age of 10, I called her up at work while evaluating a potential project for the afternoon in one of her cookbooks. “How do you deep fry something?” I asked. She wisely advised me to choose something less complex, pointing out that my 1 year old brother was in the house. Fortunately, I survived my childhood explorations pretty much unscathed. I see cooking as a natural playground for a scientist, and love to tinker with recipes to see how each element contributes in different ways to the final product. I particularly enjoy baking and I’m excited to see how technologies like sous vide can enhance a wide range of cooking projects.
My first memories of coffee were drinking sweetened and milk-diluted instant Nescaf´ alongside my grandmother as a child. As with cooking, there’s a tremendous amount of experimentation that can be done with coffee, especially if you roast your own beans. Once considered the exclusive realm of professionals, unroasted (green) coffee beans are readily available on the internet from sites like Sweet Maria’s and home roasting machines like the Behmor 1600 Plus, home coffee roasting is a completely feasible way to ensure fresh coffee at home. My technophilia and scientific approach to problem solving also led me to embrace espresso as my drink of choice.