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

Theresa Hayes Cruz, Ph.D.

Theresa Cruz headshot.Theresa Hayes Cruz, Ph.D., became director of NCMRR in August 2020, after serving as acting director since September 2019. She has been a full-time NIH staff member since 2009.

Through basic, translational, and clinical research, NCMRR fosters the development of scientific knowledge needed to enhance the health, productivity, independence, and quality-of-life of people with physical disabilities.

In her capacity as a health scientist administrator in NCMRR, Dr. Cruz manages grants in the Devices and Technology Development and Rehabilitation Diagnostics and Interventions Programs. She also manages Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) awards in medical rehabilitation.

In addition to her duties at NCMRR, 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 for applications in neuroscience, neurophysiology, movement disorders, pain, neuromodulation, and other interfaces with the nervous system. 

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 fulltime 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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