Audrey Ruple, associate professor of quantitative epidemiology in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, has been named the Dorothy A. and Richard G. Metcalf Professor of Veterinary Medical Informatics by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Dorothy A. and Richard G. Metcalf Professorship was established in 1999 with a gift from the Metcalf Foundation. Dorothy Metcalf, a trustee of the Metcalf Foundation, was longtime friend and supporter of the college. The professorship recognizes faculty engaged in information technology to advance the development, teaching, and distribution of veterinary medicine and research information.

Ruple joined the college in 2021 as an associate professor with tenure. Informatics, and the application and development of the discipline, have been integral parts of Ruple’s research portfolio, including advanced computing and data sciences, the fundamental research tools utilized in her lab. Her research is critically dependent on the application of informatics to veterinary medicine and increasingly to One Health issues impacting our society. 

This is seen in Ruple’s work as co-principal investigator and member of the executive operations team of the Dog Aging Project, the largest prospective project on animal health ever undertaken. She also is involved with Fetch Forward, an innovative approach to veterinary insurance data analytics. She has worked on prognostic genetic, epigenetic, and metadata indicators in veterinary oncology and has a number of publications related to informatics and veterinary big data, including a recent publication about work with the Dog Aging Project in the journal Nature.

Ruple’s international reputation has led to invitations to speak at both veterinary and technology conferences. Her appointment to this professorship will benefit her research program by advancing the science of natural language processing in veterinary informatics, supporting collaborations with cognate programs and large-scale primary practice-based data analytic programs, and by attracting and supporting short-term sabbaticals at Virginia Tech for visiting leaders and domain experts in informatics.

Ruple received her bachelor's degree, master’s degree, D.V.M, and Ph.D. from Colorado State University.