WCHN names Biomedical Research Institute after Ridgefielder Rudy Ruggles

Transformational gift advances pioneering translational research to enhance patient care

Ridgefield resident Rudy Ruggles, middle, watches Western Connecticut Health Network researchers in the network’s Biomedical Research Institute.

Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) has received a transformational gift from Ridgefield resident Rudy Ruggles to advance patient-centered translational research at the Network’s Biomedical Research Institute. The Institute will now be named the Rudy L. Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute.

Founded in 2009, the Research Institute in Danbury features a state-of-the-art, 17,000-square-foot open-bench laboratory dedicated to improving the health of the community through innovative translational research. Also called bench-to-bedside, this research method applies scientific findings to create new therapies, medical procedures, and diagnostics that benefit patients. Benefits include the development of new techniques to identify people at risk for disease or who are likely to resist certain treatment regiments.

Mr. Ruggles has been a longtime supporter of Danbury Hospital and WCHN. He served on Danbury Hospital’s Board of Directors and its Foundation Board during the 1980s and 1990s. His investment in research at Danbury Hospital began nearly 10 years ago after an initial conversation with John M. Murphy, MD, President and CEO of WCHN, about establishing a research hub at the hospital. Mr. Ruggles and his wife Sally were the first investors in the Research Institute, and Mr. Ruggles served as the founding chair of its Advisory Council. He will now chair WCHN’s new Scientific Research Committee.

“Mr. Ruggles has truly been an invaluable partner in our quest to build a state-of-the-art research program in order to improve the current standards of patient care,” said Dr. Murphy. “His expertise and dedication have been essential to advancing our innovative translational research mission.”

“I am happy to be a part of the exciting medical developments that are being achieved at WCHN’s Research Institute. The research is an important part of WCHN’s care evolution because it is focused on translational medicine — it is not research for the purpose of conducting research. The overarching goal is to ultimately improve patient care,” said Mr. Ruggles.

A longtime supporter of Danbury Hospital and WCHN, Mr. Ruggles has a lifelong passion for research. A former tenured IBM physicist and past president of the Hudson Institute, one of the oldest and most respected national-security think tanks in the world, Mr. Ruggles currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the J. Craig Venter Institute, where he serves as an adjunct professor in its Genomic Medicine division.

WCHN’s team of renowned physicians, scientists, and researchers are devoted to the pursuit of personalized medicine that tailors therapies to reflect an individual’s unique genetic profile. The Research Institute is equipped with leading-edge equipment including a high-precision functional proteomic platform, DNA gene sequencer, and genomics lab to ultimately establish effective personalized drugs based on an individual’s unique makeup. The Research Institute is also home to a biorepository, which is critical to WCHN’s research program as clinical trials require access to patient specimens.

Potentially lifesaving research is currently being conducted at the Research Institute, including:

  • A new screening process for people at high-risk for pancreatic cancer
  • An improved way to detect Lyme disease earlier and with more accuracy
  • Enhanced gynecologic cancer prevention and treatment protocols

Colorectal cancer, metabolic diseases, and multiple myeloma are also being studied at the Research Institute.

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