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Monica Bessler, MD, PhD

Attending Hematologist

Director, Comprehensive Bone Marrow Failure Center

Buck Family Endowed Chair in Hematology

Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Bessler is currently the Director of The Pediatric and Adult Comprehensive Bone Marrow Failure Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, PA.

Prior to her current position, she was Professor in Internal Medicine and Professor in Molecular Biology and Pharmacology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.

Dr. Bessler received a physician’s degree from the Medical School of the University of Zurich, Switzerland in 1981 and her medical degree from University of Basel, Switzerland in 1984. Then, in 1994, she received a PhD in genetics from the University of London. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Hematology.

Her clinical interests include acquired and inherited bone marrow failure, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, dyskeratosis congenita, Diamond Blackfan anemia, Shwachman Diamond syndrome and familial aplastic anemia and myelosdysplastic syndromes (MDS). Furthermore Dr. Bessler has a special interest in pediatric-adult transition for patients with bone marrow failure. She sees pediatric and adult patients and is interested in determining the adult manifestation and treatment of diseases that usually occurs in childhood as well as determining the early clinical signs in children with bone marrow failure conditions that usually only become obvious in the adult.

Outside the clinic her laboratory research aims to define the molecular mechanisms that cause bone marrow failure and the factors that determine the clinical outcome and response to treatment. Bone marrow failure (BMF) is the inability of the bone marrow to produce sufficient blood cells. BMF may be brought about by a number of causes. These may be genetic (inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, IBMFS) or acquired. BMF may affect all, or only individual blood cell lineages. The aims of her research are a) to develop more specific tests or biomarkers that distinguish and diagnose individual forms of BMF, b) to identify the pathways that lead to BMF, c) to characterize the pathways responsible for late complications, such as the development of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and leukemia, and finally d) to investigate specific and more targeted treatments for patients with BMF, allowing personalized therapy for patients with problems in blood cell production.

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