The Lupus Foundation of America has announced the appointment of OMRF physician-scientist Joan T. Merrill, M.D., as its Chief Advisor for Clinical Development.
Merrill heads the Clinical Pharmacology Research Program at OMRF. Since joining the foundation’s scientific staff in 2001, she has built a research cohort of more than 500 lupus patient volunteers at OMRF, led numerous clinical trials for investigational lupus treatments, and pioneered novel trial designs for testing new therapies for the autoimmune disease.
For the past 12 years, in addition to her duties at OMRF, Merrill has also served as the medical director for the LFA, a nonprofit devoted to developing a deeper understanding and new treatments for lupus. According to the LFA, more than 1.5 million Americans suffer from the disease, which primarily strikes women and can damage any part of the body.
In her new role at the LFA, Merrill will focus on developing a new approach for evaluating patient progress in clinical trials and clinical practice. She will also be responsible for helping to train physicians who are conducting clinical trials and assisting the LFA’s efforts to promote changes in the design of trials for testing new drugs in lupus.
Merrill will continue in her role as a physician-researcher at OMRF.
“Dr. Merrill has made enormous contributions to advancing the science and medicine of lupus, having been our founding medical director,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the LFA. “We look forward to working with her in this new role.”