Biosketch of Director, NICHD National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR)

Theresa Hayes Cruz, Ph.D.

Theresa Cruz headshot.Theresa Hayes Cruz, Ph.D., is the director of NCMRR, which, through basic, translational, and clinical research, fosters the development of scientific knowledge needed to enhance the health, productivity, independence, and quality-of-life of people with physical disabilities.

As NCMRR director, Dr. Cruz led the development of the 2021 NIH Research Plan on Rehabilitation and planned the NIH-wide conference, “Rehabilitation Research 2020: Envisioning a Functional Future.” She represents NIH on various federal committees, including the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.

In addition to her NCMRR duties, Dr. Cruz is a team lead in the NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative, where she co-manages a grant portfolio in the areas of neurotechnology development, validation, and translation.

In 2015, Dr. Cruz performed a research detail at the Functional and Applied Biomechanics Laboratory in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department of the NIH Clinical Center. In late 2016, she returned full-time to NCMRR. 

Dr. Cruz received her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering with highest honors from the School of Engineering at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She received her master's and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. Her previous research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago focused on motor control and gait impairments of the lower limb following stroke.

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