Photo of Dr. Lindsey A. Criswell

Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc.

Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., became the director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) in February, 2021.

Prior to joining NIAMS, Dr. Criswell was vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). A board-certified rheumatologist, Dr. Criswell was also a professor of rheumatology and a professor of orofacial sciences at UCSF.

She has a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.D. from UCSF. She earned a D.Sc. in genetic epidemiology from the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences, Rotterdam. She completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in rheumatology.

As NIAMS director, Dr. Criswell oversees 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 seeks to advance health through biomedical and behavioral research as well as through research training and dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.

Between 1994 and the time she became NIAMS director, Criswell was a principal investigator on multiple NIH grants and published more than 250 peer-reviewed journal papers. Her research focused 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.

In 2021, Criswell was elected to the Association of American Physicians, an honor extended to physicians with outstanding credentials in biomedical research. Criswell’s other 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 was named UCSF’s 2014 Resident Clinical and Translational Research Mentor of the Year. While at UCSF, she mentored some four dozen students (high school through medical/graduate school), medical residents, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty.

Last Updated: April 2021