Brad Olwin received his doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Washington and completed postdoctoral studies with Zach Hall at the University of California, San Francisco and with Stephen Hauschka at the University of Washington. He joined the faculty of the department of biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1988 and then as faculty member at Purdue University where he was the Walther Cancer Professor of Biochemistry from 1993 to 1996. Brad Olwin then joined the faculty at the University of Colorado where he now serves as the Associate Chair of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Olwin is known for discovering that heparan sulfate is required for binding and signaling by the fibroblast growth factor family, and for the mechanisms involved in controlling the growth and self-renewal of skeletal muscle stem cells. His laboratory focuses on intercellular signaling and intracellular signaling controlling skeletal muscle regeneration and the changes that occur to disrupt skeletal muscle function in neuromuscular diseases and during aging.
In addition to being a 1990 Pew scholar, Olwin has won a number of honors for his research, including the Steenbock Career Development Award, the Pound Research Award, the Shaw Scholar Award, the Showalter Research Trust Award, the Lions Club Cancer Research Award, was an Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Research from 2012-2016, and was a recipient of a Glenn Foundation Award for Biomedical Research in Aging.