Jackson, Tenn (February 17, 2020) - Lane College is happy to announce the alumnus of the month for February is Dr. John Carpten.
Carpten is an internationally recognized expert in genome science, possessing unique training in multiple disciplines, including germline genetics for disease risk and predisposition, somatic cancer genomics, health disparities research, cell biology, functional genomics, and precision medicine.
Carpten received his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Lane College in 1988. He earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1994 with a focus on human genetics.
He then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH, in Bethesda, Cal. in Cancer Genetics where he was promoted to the tenure track in 2000. Then in 2003, Carpten accepted a position to become division director, division of integrated cancer genomics at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, AZ.
Later, in 2012, he was promoted to the position of deputy director of basic research for TGen. In 2016, he was recruited by the University Of Southern California Keck School Of Medicine to build and chair a new Department and Institute of Translational Genomics.
Carpten’s primary research program centers around the development and application of cutting edge genomic technologies and bioinformatics analysis in search of germ-line and somatic alterations associated with cancer risk and tumor characteristics.
A major focus of Carpten’s research has been related to prostate cancer genetics. He was a lead author on the first genome wide scan for hereditary prostate cancer genes and the identification of HOXB13 as the first true hereditary prostate cancer gene.
His group has also discovered a number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, which confer increased risk of developing prostate cancer. He has played a critical role in prostate cancer cell biology studies and prostate cancer tumor genome profiling studies.
Carpten has also been an early pioneer in the understanding the role of biology in disparate cancer incidence and mortality rates seem among underrepresented populations. Through his leadership, the African American Hereditary Prostate Cancer Study (AAHPC) network was conceived. This study has become a model for genetic linkage studies in underrepresented populations and led to the first genome wide scan for prostate cancer susceptibility genes in African Americans.
His cancer research program spans many tumor types, including but not limited to, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer, and multiple myeloma, in addition to several forms of pediatric cancer. He led a landmark study which culminated in the discovery of the AKT1(E17K) activating mutation in human cancers published in Nature. This study received an exceptional rating by the Faculty of 1000, placing the paper in the top one percent of published work worldwide in the area of biology in 2007. It also received a must read rating, placing the paper in the top five percent of published work in the area of medicine.
He extended this work to include an in depth analysis of the functional and mechanistic effects of this mutation on mammary cell biology (Human Mutation). His laboratory participated in and led several high impact studies in multiple myeloma research. This includes the seminal study describing common mutation of NF-kB pathway genes in multiple myeloma, published in Cancer Cell. Multiple myeloma is yet another form of cancer that disproportionately affects African Americans.
Carpten’s laboratory led the first study to interrogate the somatic features of multiple myeloma tumors, derived from African American patients, who have higher incidence rates and worse outcomes compared to European descent myeloma patients (Blood). Carpten has also been involved the development and application of high throughput genomic methods and technologies throughout his career.
Currently, he has a major focus in precision medicine, where next generation sequencing is being applied to interrogate the genomes and transcriptomes of tumors in a clinical setting to identify targetable events for select therapeutics. He coordinated the development of a CLIA-certified laboratory to support clinical genomic testing. This laboratory was later commercialized as Ashion Analytics, LLC.
Carpten has received research funding awards from various sources to support his research including NIH, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and a number of pharmaceutical companies.
Carpten has co-authored over 160 publications in scientific journals including Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Genome Research, Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Research, Cancer Cell, and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. John Carpten.