Dr. Albert Hwa received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2000. He later trained with Dr. Linda Griffith at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and obtained a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering in 2006. His dissertation focused on developing a physiological liver cell culture on a chip based on tissue engineering principles to facilitate disease modeling and drug metabolism.
During a brief stint as a research associate at a biometrics consultancy company in 2006, Dr. Hwa managed and executed a US National Institute of Justice research grant to evaluate novel biometrics hardware and software. He joined JDRF as a scientific program manager and later the director of discovery research between 2007 and 2016. At JDRF, Dr. Hwa oversaw several research program portfolios, among which his focus was on beta cell replacement therapies. Under his direction, JDRF funded multidisciplinary collaborative network programs among stem cell, transplantation, and bioengineering scientists focusing on translational research and development for new islet cell replacement therapy products. He established the JDRF Encapsulation Consortium and facilitated the formation of over a dozen new collaborative arrangements. He oversaw several major industry partnerships including ViaCyte’s encapsulated stem cell product for diabetes and Beta O2’s macro-encapsulation device safety/efficacy trial. He represented JDRF on the United Network for Organ Sharing Pancreas Transplantation committee and the Collaborative Islet Transplant Registry Scientific Steering Committee.
Dr. Hwa joined the Joslin Diabetes Center (JDC) as the Operations Director for the Center for Cell-based Therapy for Diabetes (CCTD) in February 2016. He manages cell therapy initiatives between JDC and other research institutions.