Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Announces Steven Rowe, MD, as Next Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Steven Rowe will support mission to cure cystic fibrosis by leading the Foundation’s research strategy, focusing on genetic therapies

Jan. 26, 2022 | 4 min read
This is a headshot of Dr. Steven Rowe in a lab.

BETHESDA, Md. -- Today, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced that Steven Rowe, MD, will be its next chief scientific officer. In this role, Dr. Rowe will oversee the Foundation’s basic science, academic research, and venture philanthropy program investments, which include the CF Foundation Lab and the Path to a Cure initiative.

Dr. Rowe comes to the Foundation after more than two decades providing direct care to people with CF and conducting research to develop treatments that target the underlying cause of the disease. He is currently the director of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center and professor of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care medicine; pediatric pulmonology; and cell developmental and integrative physiology.

A pioneer in personalized medicine and translational research for CF, with exceptional expertise in airway disease biology and design of clinical trials targeting the genetic cause of CF, Steve helped establish the methods necessary to measure correction of the basic defect in CF.

He has led, co-led, or contributed to important research to help people with CF live longer, healthier lives, including:

  • A Foundation-supported study that identified compounds to restore the function of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) genes for people with CF who have nonsense mutations, for whom no treatment for their cause of disease is currently available
  • The invention of a minimally invasive tool to visualize nasal airways at the cellular level, enabling better understanding of how treatments for fixing the mucus, and potentially the genetic cause of CF, would affect the airways
  • Clinical trials to support Trikafta®, a CFTR modulator that treats the underlying cause of CF for people with certain mutations, including the most common f508del mutation
  • The Foundation-supported PROMISE study, which is exploring the impact of Trikafta on lung function, GI symptoms, pancreatic function, diabetes, and other manifestations of CF

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Rowe join the Foundation with our most challenging work ahead,” said Michael Boyle, MD, president and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “Through his diverse accomplishments in CF research, Dr. Rowe is distinctly suited to lead the Foundation’s scientific strategy as we accelerate the Path to a Cure, with genetic therapy research at its center. I look forward to working with Dr. Rowe to build on the Foundation’s legacy of innovation to find treatments for every person with CF and ultimately cure this disease.”

Dr. Rowe will work with the Foundation on a part-time basis as he completes the academic year at UAB and will fully assume the role of CSO of the CF Foundation beginning July 1.

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease. The CF Foundation is a donor-supported nonprofit organization. For more information, visit

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