Merrilee Needham


Merrilee Needham is the current Foundation Chair in Neurology, a joint position between Fiona Stanley Hospital, Murdoch University and Notre Dame University Australia. She was the Head of the Neurology unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital from 2015-2019 and is the current Head of Neuromuscular and Myositis research at the Perron Institute, Western Australia. She is a Consultant Neurologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital and Fremantle Hospital in addition to being the Director of Research for the South Metropolitan Health Service. Professor Needham has a passion for helping people suffering with neuromuscular disorders with a particular interest in Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM). A vital part of providing the best care possible is partnering with her patients in a research programme to understand their diseases better, identify treatment targets and facilitate participation in clinical trials. She has established a translational and experimental research programme, diagnosing and managing patients over time as well as biobanking them. The laboratory programme is performing immunological studies to better understand the role of the immune system in IBM and other forms of myositis, how inflammation links to the ultimate degeneration of muscle and identify new treatment targets. This programme now supports a full-time Immunologist and Clinical Research Manager, and is currently hosting three honours students and two PhD candidates.