Profile of Darren Carpizo, MD, PhD

Darren Carpizo, MD, PhDDarren Carpizo completed his MD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1997 before moving to the University of California at Los Angeles where, during a nine-year period, he completed an internship and residency in surgery as well as a PhD in molecular, cell and developmental biology (2003).  He completed his PhD in the STAR program (Specialty Training in Advanced Research), which is a unique program to train physician scientists under the mentorship of Dr. Luisa Iruela-Arispe studying tumor angiogenesis. He later went on to complete a surgical oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer center where he specialized in the management of patients with pancreatic, liver and bile duct cancers. There he published one of the first papers published on the surgical management of patients with hepatic and extrahepatic colorectal cancer metastases.

In 2008, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. From 2008 to 2013, Darren worked under the mentorship of Dr. Arnold Levine (co-discoverer of p53). During this time he made a significant contribution to the p53 and drug development fields. They discovered a small molecule that could restore the wildtype structure and function to the most common p53 mis-sense mutant in human cancer, p53-R175H (Yu et al. Cancer Cell 2012). Darren has since gone on to establish how own lab that went on further to elucidate the mechanism of action of this drug which he and his colleagues have named a “Zinc Metallochaperone”.  This discovery was significant for it identified a new pathway by which drugs could correct a folding defect in a metalloprotein such as p53 by delivering a metal ion. This mechanism is unique to the field of drug discovery.  He has since garnered four peer-reviewed grants from a range of foundations and institutions including the National Cancer Institute to continue this research. 

In 2014 Dr. Carpizo was appointed jointly to the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology and is a member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Clinical Investigations and Precision Therapeutics and Cancer Pharmacology programs. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in July 2015. Dr. Carpizo also continues to mange patients with gastrointestinal cancers and is the leader of the Cancer Institute's Liver and Bile Duct tumor study group. 

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