Lindsey Criswell Named Vice Chancellor of Research

Concurrently, David Morgan is Appointed Vice Dean for Research for the School of Medicine

By Nina Bai

Lindsey A. Criswell
Lindsey A. Criswell, MD, MPH, DSc, will lead UCSF’s research enterprise as the vice chancellor for research. Photo by Barbara Ries

Lindsey A. Criswell, MD, MPH, DSc, a longtime professor in the School of Medicine, has been named vice chancellor for research for UC San Francisco.

Criswell will direct UCSF’s effort to advance innovative, collaborative, and interdisciplinary biomedical research across the University’s professional schools and graduate programs.

In this role, Criswell will report to Daniel Lowenstein, MD, executive vice chancellor and provost at UCSF. She will remain professor and chief of rheumatology in the School of Medicine and professor of orofacial sciences in the School of Dentistry.

“Lindsey’s extensive experience as a researcher and her deep knowledge of UCSF make her the perfect candidate for this position,” Lowenstein said. “Her vision for research at UCSF will build upon our strengths as a top-rated academic research institution and enable the entirety of our research enterprise to grow and thrive.”

The appointment was approved this week by the University of California Office of the President.

Challenges and Opportunities

“As my primary activity as a faculty member has been research, I am well aware of the challenges, as well as opportunities, that our research community faces,” said Criswell. “The vision for this position that resonates with me most is that the person in this role will represent and advocate for researchers at the highest leadership level.”

Among the challenges she plans to address are decreased federal and state funding for research, and fostering interaction and communication across a large, multi-site campus and between the academic and clinical enterprises at UCSF, said Criswell. She also intends to become actively involved in the plans for improvements to the research environment at the Parnassus campus, which have become a top priority for the University. 

Lindsey Criswell talks with researchers
The UCSF career of Lindsey A. Criswell (center), MD, MPH, DSc, stretches back to medical school, when she earned her MD here in 1986. Photo by Barbara Ries

“I’m particularly proud that we are a public institution and remain highly ranked nationally in terms of attracting funding and research productivity. That really speaks to the quality of our research community and the potential that we have,” said Criswell.

Criswell’s UCSF career stretches back to medical school when she earned an MD here in 1986. After residency training at Scripps Clinic and Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., she returned to UCSF, completing her postdoctoral rheumatology fellowship in 1992.

In her scientific career, Criswell has been a leading researcher in the genetics and epidemiology of human autoimmune disease, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Through genome wide association and other genetic studies, her team has helped identify over 30 genes and key biological pathways that contribute to the risk and outcome of these disorders.

Her research has spanned a wide spectrum of fields, including health services research, epidemiology, genetics and immunology.

The breadth of her own research experience, said Criswell, is an example of the collaboration between basic, translational and clinical scientists that is a special strength of UCSF. In particular, she believes UCSF has the opportunity to be the clear leader in the area of precision medicine. “UCSF is very well positioned and I am excited and eager to try to focus our research efforts in that direction,” she said.

Vice Dean Announcement

Lowenstein and School of Medicine Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD, also announced the naming of David Morgan, PhD, as the new vice dean for research for the School of Medicine.

David Morgan
David Morgan, PhD

Morgan is currently vice chair and professor in the Department of Physiology, as well as professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. He is the director of the UCSF Tetrad Graduate Program, one of the nation’s premier programs in cell biology, genetics and biochemistry. A world leader in understanding the mechanisms that control the cell division cycle, his research has revealed the intricacies of the circuits that control cell reproduction, a foundational contribution to a central problem in biology. Morgan’s textbook, The Cell Cycle: Principles of Control, has emerged as the authoritative work on the topic.

As vice dean, his main responsibilities will be promoting innovations and collaborations, fostering a sense of community among the school’s researchers with a focus on communications, and working to enhance diversity and inclusion. He will oversee internal programs such as Bridge Funding, REAC and the Integrated Funding Model for graduate program support. Considered among UCSF’s top science teachers and mentors, Morgan will also oversee the school’s training programs for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. 

“The remarkable success of the research community in the School of Medicine, and throughout UCSF, depends on a unique blend of intellectual prowess, creativity and a generous collaborative spirit,” said Morgan.“I am excited to do whatever I can to promote this culture and secure our future as a center of scientific excellence.”

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