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Thursday, August 6, 2020
NIH taps Dr. Lindsey Criswell as director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., has selected Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., as director of NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). A rheumatologist, Dr. Criswell is currently the vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is a professor of rheumatology in UCSF’s Department of Medicine, as well as a professor of orofacial sciences in its School of Dentistry. She is expected to begin her new role as the NIAMS director in early 2021. She will succeed long-time director Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., who passed away suddenly in December 2018.
“Dr. Criswell has rich experience as a clinician, researcher and administrator. Her ability to oversee the research program of one of the country’s top research-intensive medical schools, and her expertise in autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, make her well-positioned to direct NIAMS,” said Dr. Collins. “I look forward to having her join the NIH leadership team early next year. I also want to thank Robert H. Carter, M.D., for his exemplary work as the acting director of NIAMS since December 2018.”
As NIAMS director, Dr. Criswell will oversee the institute’s annual budget of nearly $625 million, which supports research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. The institute advances health through biomedical and behavioral research, research training and dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.
The NIAMS Division of Extramural Research supports scientific studies and research training and career development throughout the country through grants and contracts to research organizations in fields that include rheumatology, muscle biology, orthopaedics, bone and mineral metabolism and dermatology. NIAMS-supported research addresses some of the most common and disabling chronic diseases that affect almost every household in America.
Dr. Criswell has been a principal investigator on multiple NIH grants since 1994 and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers. Her research focuses on the genetics and epidemiology of human autoimmune disease, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Using genome-wide association and other genetic studies, her research team contributed to the identification of more than 30 genes linked to these disorders.
Dr. Criswell’s many honors include the Kenneth H. Fye, M.D., endowed chair in rheumatology and the Jean S. Engleman Distinguished Professorship in Rheumatology at UCSF, and the Henry Kunkel Young Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology. She also received UCSF’s 2014 Resident Clinical and Translational Research Mentor of the Year. During her career, she has mentored some four dozen students (high school through medical/graduate school), medical residents, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.
Dr. Criswell earned a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley; a D.Sc. in genetic epidemiology from the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences, Rotterdam; and an M.D. from UCSF. In addition to completing a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology, she is certified as a first responder in wilderness medicine.
The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health (NIH), is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about the NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS website at https://niams.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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