Tanya Smith recently joined the Perron Institute clinic as the Abcuro IBM Trial Coordinator.

Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM) is a progressive muscle disorder characterised by muscle wasting, inflammation and weakness. There is no effective treatment for this rare but debilitating adult disease which causes progressive weakness of the legs, arms, fingers, and wrists.

Last year, the Perron Institute became the first recruiting site for the global myositis drug study, a significant milestone for the study sponsor, US biotech company Abcuro Pty Ltd.

As part of her role at the Institute, Tanya will be involved in testing potential new treatment options for people with IBM.

“I have always been interested in research and monitoring evidence-based physiotherapy treatment modalities for neurological conditions,” she said.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be directly involved in research through my role at the Perron Institute.”

“My advice for students and early career researchers and professionals is that there are many varied career opportunities within clinical trials and research.”

Tanya’s initial interest in physiotherapy began when she undertook high school work experience in the Spinal Unit at Royal Perth Hospital. She completed her Physiotherapy degree at Curtin University in 2003 and has predominantly worked in the public sector at Fremantle Hospital, Osborne Park Hospital (OPH) and Singapore General Hospital. For the past 11 years, she has worked as the Senior Physiotherapist in the Parkinson’s Clinic at OPH.

“I am inspired by the patients who show resilience and strength in managing chronic, progressive conditions.

“A highlight has been seeing the increasing evidence for the benefits for exercise in the management of Parkinson’s Disease and being able to apply this clinically.

“Since commencing at the Perron Institute, I have felt very supported. I’m excited to be working with Sue Walters (Manager, Clinical Services), Professor Merrilee Needham (Consultant Neurologist and head of Myositis Research), Krys Hiscock (Clinical Trials Administrator), Elspeth Stewart (Clinical Trials Assistant) and the whole Clinical Trials team.

In her spare time, Tanya enjoys walking her dog ‘Dexter’, listening to podcasts and running.

“I have two young boys (2 and 4 years old), so most of my free time is spent with my family. I’m also looking forward to travelling again soon.”