Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of JDRF, a global leader in type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, Dr. Kowalski drives strategies to accelerate progress toward cures — and simultaneously advance breakthroughs that enable people with T1D to live longer, healthier lives.
Dr. Kowalski, an internationally recognized scientific expert in T1D research, brings his personal experience of living with T1D for over 35 years to his life’s work. He is a champion of the T1D community and a passionate advocate for federal research funding as well as for coverage, choice and affordability of T1D technology and treatments.
Dr. Kowalski joined JDRF in 2004 and most recently served as Chief Mission Officer, leading research and advocacy strategy. He has long worked to define and streamline the therapy pipeline so developments in the laboratory more quickly become real-world solutions for people with T1D.
Dr. Kowalski was pivotal in the transformation of JDRF from an organization primarily funding academic research to a highly engaged strategic funder influencing all stages of the research and development pipeline. Under his leadership, JDRF today collaborates across the global T1D community and works closely with senior industry executives and leaders in academia, clinical care, and government.
Dr. Kowalski authored numerous articles on T1D research that are improving standards of care. His artificial pancreas (AP) roadmap, adopted by the diabetes industry, significantly accelerated the development and regulatory approval of the world’s first commercial AP system and the roadmap is now driving next generation systems. Dr. Kowalski led the landmark JDRF CGM Trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that prompted private and government insurers to cover continuous glucose monitoring, opening up access to this critical technology.
As the policy leader for JDRF, Dr. Kowalski regularly advises members of Congress and leaders of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Food and Drug Administration on issues surrounding access to T1D therapies and regulatory frameworks that promote innovation. He is a champion for coverage, affordability, and choice of therapies, advocating for life-saving treatment options and expanded access to help people with T1D stay healthy until there is a cure.
Dr. Kowalski travels and speaks globally about T1D, presenting at many national and international conferences, including ADA’s Annual Scientific Sessions, EASD, ATTD, AACE, and AADE.
He has lived with T1D since the age of 13 following the T1D diagnosis of his younger brother Stephen at the age of 3. While living with T1D, he has completed more than two dozen marathons and he remains an avid golfer, ice hockey player, and birdwatcher.
Dr. Kowalski and his wife Michele, a high school biology teacher, have three children. He earned his doctorate in microbiology and molecular genetics from Rutgers University.