Mark Kowala, PhD

Vice President of Translational Medicine

Joined the IBRI in December 2021

Mark Kowala, PhD, has 30 years of experience as a scientist and leader of pharmaceutical drug discovery. He has engaged biotechnology companies for in- and out-licensing of compounds and managed collaborations with academic and industry partners. He also is highly motivated to utilize his knowledge and experience to promote the growth of biotechnology in central Indiana. 

Recently he was chief scientific officer of cardiorenal drug discovery in the diabetes and complications therapeutic area at Lilly Research Labs. Kowala built, guided and supported an outstanding team of scientists who produced a portfolio of small molecule and protein therapeutics for treating dyslipidemia and heart failure. Some assets are now in clinical development. He also provided strategic and scientific direction to clinical drug development and commercial teams. 

As a scientific leader, Kowala emphasized the importance of understanding and validating new disease targets with human genetics, soluble biomarkers, transcriptional or physiological data to increase the clinical success rate of new but risky drugs. That is, to improve the translation of novel scientific discoveries into new medicines for patients. As a manager, he established a culture of diversity, opportunity and scientific autonomy with accountability and developed the careers of many scientists.

Kowala previously was senior director of cardiovascular and metabolic research at Pfizer and senior research investigator at Bristol Myers Squibb. View Kowala's published research here.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biotechnology
  • Data analysis
  • Drug discovery and development
  • Human genetics
  • Soluble biomarkers
  • Translational medicine


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Pathology/Experimental Pathology), Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • Bachelor of Science (Immunology), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Honorary Societies

  • American Heart Association
  • European Society of Cardiology
  • Indiana Physiological Society
  • Keystone Conference Scientific Advisory Board
  • National Institutes for Health SBIR Grant Review Committee
  • SAB for IMI-2 Diabetic Cardiomyopathy Phenotyping Consortia