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Joan T. Merrill, MD

Joan T. Merrill, MD

Chief Advisor, Clinical Development

Dr. Joan T. Merrill is a Member of the Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City.  She is the OMRF Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Adjunct Professor at the Center’s School of Pharmacy.

Since joining the OMRF scientific staff in 2001, Dr. Merrill 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.

As the LFA’s Chief Advisor for Clinical Development, Dr. Merrill focuses on developing a new approach to evaluating patient progress in clinical trials and clinical practice. She also is responsible for helping train physicians who are conducting clinical trials.  Dr. Merrill spearheads a call for transformative changes in clinical trials for new lupus drugs. In a new paper, she led a large team of lupus specialists and treatment developers to detail approaches that could lead to new and effective drugs reaching hospitals and clinics.

In 2016, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) selected Dr. Merrill as the recipient of the Research & Hope Award for “Excellence in Academic/Government Research.”

Dr. Merrill received her medical training at Cornell University Medical College, New York, followed by an internship and residency at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospital Center, a fellowship in rheumatology at NYU Medical Center, and a basic research fellowship at Columbia University.