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Rheumatologist Lindsey Criswell named new NIAMS director


Lindsey Criswell, MD, MPH, DSc, has been selected as the next director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Dr. Lindsey Criswell, vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Lindsey Criswell

Dr. Criswell, vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco, will replace acting director Robert H. Carter, MD, who has overseen NIAMS since December 2018, following the unexpected death of longtime director Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD, who had directed the institute since 1995. She will start her new role in early 2021, according to the NIH.

“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 NIH director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, said in an announcement.

Dr. Criswell, who holds the Kenneth H. Fye, M.D., endowed chair in rheumatology and the Jean S. Engleman Distinguished Professorship in Rheumatology at UCSF, spent most of her career at the university, focusing her research 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, according to the NIH.

NIAMS has a budget of nearly $625 million and its extramural research program 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, orthopedics, bone and mineral metabolism, and dermatology.

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