A former philosophy, politics, and economics major at the University of Pennsylvania, Shipley Changemaker Richard “Carter” Caldwell ’95 now works for his alma mater. As Program Director of the Penn Medicine Co-Investment Program, Caldwell supports Penn Medicine faculty members who spin out new companies based on their research in cell therapy, gene therapy, and connected health.
“These faculty members inspire me every day, because the companies that emerge from their research are developing brand new treatments for diseases, including a number of cancers, cardiac fibrosis, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” Caldwell says. “I tell anyone who will listen how much personal reward I feel doing this, because I’m helping to fund research that can have a material impact on people’s lives.”
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Penn Medicine—which comprises the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Health System—joined forces with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Wistar Institute to establish the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens, a centralized knowledge base that produces clinical trials and other targeted research projects to aid in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of coronavirus.
“Being a part of both the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Penn Center for Innovation, I’ve been able to bear witness to the incredible scientific strides that Penn Medicine has made in such a short period of time,” Caldwell says. “As you can imagine, health care is a central fulcrum of what we need to focus on in order to get life back to ‘normal.’”
Caldwell, who holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia Business School, has firsthand knowledge of the importance of investing attention, focus, time, money, and mindshare into research universities like the University of Pennsylvania. Previously a longtime Penn Medicine patient himself, having undergone neurosurgery to treat a seizure disorder (the final straw of which sent him crashing down a hill, causing him to fracture his face and eye socket), he appreciates the fact that his life has come full circle.
“I love what I’m working on at Penn Medicine,” Caldwell says. “I’m now in a position where I can help fund treatments for patients suffering from a wide variety of diseases and disorders.”