In Memory of Dr. Linda Crnic

Dr. Linda Crnic

The Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome is named after Dr. Linda Crnic, a University of Colorado professor of pediatrics and psychiatry, in honor of her unwavering dedication to helping people with Down syndrome through scientific research. She died in a bicycle accident in Oregon in 2004 at the age of 56.

Dr. Crnic was on the faculty of the University of Colorado School of Medicine since 1977 and was director of what is now know as the school’s Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Center since 2001 and led the creation of the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the school. She was also a senior fellow adjoint at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute at the University of Denver, which is dedicated to biomedical and genetic research as the most effective, long-term approaches to unlocking the mysteries of human health and disease.

A renowned scientist in the field of Fragile X, Dr. Crnic had started to focus her talents on research for people with Down syndrome before her tragic death. Dr. Crnic mentored Anna and John J. Sie and their daughter, Michelle, in identifying the challenges and opportunities associated with funding for such research. She also introduced the Sies to most of the prominent scientists working on research for people with Down syndrome. After Dr. Crnic’s death, the Sies, who were the founding donors of the Crnic Institute through the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, thought it befitting to name the institute after her.

“She really cared about our kids first. The science was truly a means to end with Linda,” said Anna.

Dr. Crnic was the author or co-author of dozens of scholarly papers and articles on intellectual disabilities and Down syndrome, and she was a frequent speaker on those topics across the United States and the world.

“As a Ph.D. she founded and built the residents’ academic track for many years, while building an international reputation for her research in Down syndrome,” pediatrics professor M. Douglas Jones said in an email at the time of Dr. Crnic’s death. “… She was also active with Down syndrome families, working locally and traveling with them to Washington, D.C., to make the case for better support for care and research.”

For more information about Dr. Crnic, read her obituary on CU’s website.