Chip and Jane Rutledge as part of a graphic that reads "investing in the future of pharmacy."
Friday, February 16, 2024

Chip Rutledge knows the importance of flexible funds to support early career professors in establishing their research programs.

The former dean of the former College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Sciences at Purdue, alongside his wife Jane, recently established the Chip and Jane Rutledge Early Career Professorship to support young professors as they develop their academic programs.

Chip, who went on to serve as the Vice President for Research and Director of Discovery Park at Purdue, has a long history of training students and postdoctoral fellows and developing faculty in the pharmaceutical sciences.

“What I observed during this time was that faculty starting their careers in science were usually successful in getting their programs started because of their training and institutional support,” Chip said. “They are often successful in obtaining starter research grants for specific research projects. What they lack are flexible funds that can be used to support undergraduate research students, send students and fellows to national meetings to present their research, buy an important piece of equipment, conduct pilot projects based on new ideas, and pursue other promising research opportunities that may arise.”

As dean and vice president, Chip allocated funds for these purposes as he was able. Now, in retirement, establishing a named professorship was a way he and Jane could give back—a concept Jane is passionate about, as well. During Chip’s tenure at Purdue, Jane was a tireless supporter of the university. She is also a long-time community servant with the Tippecanoe County Public Library.

The Chip and Jane Rutledge Early Career Professorship is a termed professorship awarded to an assistant or associate professor for a term of at least 3 years. It plays an important role in continuing the college’s mission to attract and retain the best pharmacy faculty.

The inaugural recipient is Daniel Flaherty, associate professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology.

Head shot of Daniel Flaherty.

Flaherty, who earned his PhD in pharmaceutical science with an emphasis on medicinal chemistry from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, joined the Purdue College of Pharmacy as an assistant professor in 2015 before his promotion to associate professor with tenure in August 2022. His research focuses on novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of infectious disease, chronic pain, and cancer.

He was selected for the professorship by a College of Pharmacy committee with the approval of Patrick Wolfe, Purdue University provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity.

Flaherty said the appointment further strengthens his passion for impactful research and quality classroom instruction.

“I am thankful to Chip and Jane Rutledge for their generous contribution that made this professorship possible,” he said. “The recognition provides a sense of accomplishment for the research and teaching that I have been involved in at Purdue. It also provides additional motivation to continue the career trajectory I am on and produce increasingly impactful research as well as quality instruction in the classroom.

“This appointment will allow me to invest in new and exciting research directions in the coming years. It also will be pivotal in providing resources to invest in talented research personnel to help accomplish these goals.”

Flaherty said the ultimate goal for his lab is to successfully translate research in antibiotics and chronic pain to clinical development.

Beyond supporting faculty, named professorships like the one established by the Rutledges also help the College of Pharmacy achieve its mission of educating future pharmacists and scientists while advancing pharmaceutical science, said Eric Barker, the Jeannie and Jim Chaney Dean of Pharmacy.

“Chip and Jane have been important members of the Purdue Pharmacy family for over 30 years,” Barker said. “They are committed to advancing scholarly excellence in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences. Their support for the named professorship represents an important effort to recruit and retain the very best faculty. We are so appreciative of their generosity, as well as their desire to see the Purdue College of Pharmacy remain one of the very best in the nation.”