Star Seyedkazemi: A Bold Move
Star Seyedkazemi was born in Tehran, Iran. “We left in the middle of a war,” she explains.
Star's bold story began, when as a little girl, she and her family migrated to the United States to escape the war zone. “My parents left their careers, home and family to learn a new culture, a new language and a completely new region,” she explains. “It was the best decision they could have ever made, and I don’t go a day without thinking about how grateful I am.”
Breaking the Mold
Today, Star is a clinical pharmacist and leader at Allergan working on a key Open Science pipeline project. If you asked 12-year-old Star what she’d be doing when she grew up, she never would’ve guessed this.
While today’s children can aspire to be football players and YouTube celebrities, Star had a different experience. “Growing up in a Middle Eastern family, our parents really tried to shape what we were going to do in the future,” she explains. “I had three options: I could become a doctor, an engineer, or an attorney.”
While preparing for medical school, Star volunteered in different clinics and hospital settings. “I had this epiphany that I really didn't enjoy time in hospitals.” A family friend invited Star to spend a day at the pharmacy, and there, she found her path forward.
“Pharmacy was the perfect direction for me. You really have to understand the medicines, and at the same time, you have to understand your patients and how they might handle the medicine.”
Star's career path was certainly not linear. She applied her education in many ways, including in traditional pharmacy, outpatient HIV clinical and research settings in the U.S pharmaceutical industry, and global medical affairs and clinical development—all before joining Allergan.
A Passion for Powering Ideas
Star adored working with patients, but knew joining the pharmaceutical industry would allow her to help far more people. That’s why she joined Tobira, which became part of Allergan in 2016.
"I’m a learner—and this was an opportunity for me to do just that. To join the next wave of research. To shape a new paradigm of treatment for liver disease. To develop a treatment where none currently exists. To power ideas. To make a difference."
Building Bridges Beyond the Workplace
In 2014, Star was ready to pay forward the chance her parents gave her family when they moved to the United States. “I wanted to make it possible for another person to have an experience like mine,” explains Star. And so, Star’s cousin, Atta joined her in San Francisco.
“It’s been wonderful to see him evolve—not only in his education, but also in his thinking. Having lived in Iran all of his life, it's really interesting for me to watch his story unfold,” she explains.
Being Bold for Life Requires Urgency
Atta was pursuing his dreams in the U.S. with the help of his cousin when one day he discovered a mass under his arm and was soon after diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma. “It was a shock,” Star remembers. “This type of lymphoma is not highly prevalent at his age. Atta had already endured significant health issues as a child—including a congenital heart defect at birth and a cleft palate.”
Now cancer. It all seemed so unfair. “But we thought about all the positive aspects of his diagnosis,” Star explained. “Atta’s parents happened to be visiting at the time of his diagnosis, so we didn’t have to endure the shock alone. Next, we were so grateful because we were here, in San Francisco, with access to some of the best medical care.” And Atta had the support of his bold cousin, Star.
Allergan colleagues act fast. We don’t hesitate or wait for tomorrow. Each day, we have an opportunity to enhance lives—and that's exactly what Star is doing for her cousin. She has helped Atta navigate his care journey, engaged with his doctors, and been by his side for every treatment. The best news is that Atta’s follicular lymphoma is in complete remission!
"It was through a connection with my good friend and colleague that I found Atta's doctor," Star explains, describing how building bridges had literally become a life-saver for her and her family. "I love my job—and I consider the people I work with my family.”
Star’s courage and resolve inspires and empowers others and is what makes her Bold for Life.
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