Crawford carried out her Ph.D. thesis research in Jim Wells’ lab at UCSF, where she studied the evolution of caspase activity in the programmed cell death of a wide range of metazoans. She developed DegraBase, a database of proteolysis in healthy and apoptotic human cells. As a postdoctoral fellow in Joe DeRisi’s lab at UCSF, she devised CRISPR/Cas9-based tools for depleting abundant sequences and enriching rare sequences in next-generation sequencing libraries. As a Project Leader at CZ Biohub, Crawford developed Cas9-based methods to diagnose infectious diseases and detect the presence of rare genes that cause resistance to antibiotics and other drugs. She worked closely with physicians at UCSF’s hospitals to enable them to track, understand, and control deadly drug-resistant infections. She also led a team of 12 scientists who ran the CLIAhub COVID-19 clinical diagnostics lab at UCSF/CZ Biohub.