Matthew A. Firpo, PhD

Research Interests

  • Cancer Biology
  • Cancer Therapeutic Development
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Ileus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Role of microenvironmental factors on cellular sensitivity to radiation and to chemotherapeutic agents
  • Tumor Markers, Biological
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Hydrogels
  • Implants, Experimental
  • Tumor Microenvironment
  • Gene Expression, Microarray
  • Pancreatic Cancer


  • English

Academic Information

  • Departments: Surgery - Research Associate Professor
  • Divisions: General Surgery
  • Cancer Center Programs: Experimental Therapeutics

Academic Office Information

  • 801-587-9049
  • School of Medicine
    General Surgery
    30 N 1900 E, Room: 207 Wintrobe
    Salt Lake City, UT 84132

Academic Bio

Matthew Firpo, PhD, is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah where he directs the Surgery Research Laboratories. He is also a member of the Pancreas Cancer Research Program and the Experimental Therapeutics Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Firpo's cancer research interests focus on improving intervention and detection strategies for pancreatic cancer. In collaboration with multiple cancer investigators, much of Firpo's efforts involve projects designed to investigate the underlying biology of pancreas cancer. The ultimate goal of these projects is to provide supporting justification for subsequent clinical uses.

Firpo earned his PhD in molecular biology from Brown University in 1994. He completed postdoctoral training in the Departments of Human Genetics and Biochemistry at the University of Utah before joining the Department of Surgery in February 2000.

Education History

Type School Degree
Postdoctoral Fellowship University of Utah
Molecular Biology/Biochemistry
Postdoctoral Fellow
Doctoral Training Brown University
Molecular Biology
Graduate Training University of Montana
Undergraduate University of Montana

Selected Publications

Journal Article

  1. Rosati A, Basile A, DAuria R, dAvenia M, De Marco M, Falco A, Festa M, Guerriero L, Iorio V, Parente R, Pascale M, Marzullo L, Franco R, Arra C, Barbieri A, Rea D, Menichini G, Hahne M, Bijlsma M, Barcaroli D, Sala G, di Mola FF, di Sebastiano P, Todoric J, Antonucci L, Corvest V, Jawhari A, Firpo MA, Tuveson DA, Capunzo M, Karin M, De Laurenzi V, Turco MC (2015). BAG3 promotes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma growth by activating stromal macrophages. Nat Commun, 6, 8695.
  2. Wang AS, Lodi A, Rivera LB, Izquierdo-Garcia JL, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ, Tempero MA, Bergers G, Ronen SM (2014). HR-MAS MRS of the pancreas reveals reduced lipid and elevated lactate and taurine associated with early pancreatic cancer. NMR Biomed, 27(11), 1361-70.
  3. von Figura G, Fukuda A, Roy N, Liku ME, Morris Iv JP, Kim GE, Russ HA, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ, Dawson DW, Ferrer J, Mueller WF, Busch A, Hertel KJ, Hebrok M (2014). The chromatin regulator Brg1 suppresses formation of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nat Cell Biol, 16(3), 255-67.
  4. Wang Y, Patel R, Ren C, Taggart MG, Firpo MA, Schleiss MR, Park AH (2013). A comparison of different murine models for cytomegalovirus-induced sensorineural hearing loss. Laryngoscope, 123(11), 2801-6.
  5. Poruk KE, Firpo MA, Scaife CL, Adler DG, Emerson LL, Boucher KM, Mulvihill SJ (2013). Serum osteopontin and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Pancreas, 42(2), 193-7.
  6. Park AH, Mann D, Error ME, Miller M, Firpo MA, Wang Y, Alder SC, Schleiss MR (2013). Comparative analysis of detection methods for congenital cytomegalovirus infection in a Guinea pig model. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg, 139(1), 82-6.
  7. Poruk KE, Gay DZ, Brown K, Mulvihill JD, Boucher KM, Scaife CL, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ (2013). The clinical utility of CA 19-9 in pancreatic adenocarcinoma: diagnostic and prognostic updates. Curr Mol Med, 13(3), 340-51.
  8. Granger JH, Granger MC, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ, Porter MD (2013). Toward development of a surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)-based cancer diagnostic immunoassay panel. Analyst, 138(2), 410-6.
  9. Poruk KE, Firpo MA, Adler DG, Mulvihill SJ (2013). Screening for pancreatic cancer: why, how, and who? Ann Surg, 257(1), 17-26.
  10. Elia R, Newhide DR, Pedevillano PD, Reiss GR, Firpo MA, Hsu EW, Kaplan DL, Prestwich GD, Peattie RA (2013). Silk-hyaluronan-based composite hydrogels: a novel, securable vehicle for drug delivery. J Biomater Appl, 27(6), 749-62.
  11. Gounder SS, Kannan S, Devadoss D, Miller CJ, Whitehead KJ, Odelberg SJ, Firpo MA, Paine R 3rd, Hoidal JR, Abel ED, Rajasekaran NS (2012). Impaired transcriptional activity of Nrf2 in age-related myocardial oxidative stress is reversible by moderate exercise training. PLoS One, 7(9), e45697.
  12. Jose RR, Elia R, Firpo MA, Kaplan DL, Peattie RA (2012). Seamless, axially aligned, fiber tubes, meshes, microbundles and gradient biomaterial constructs. J Mater Sci Mater Med, 23(11), 2679-95.
  13. Miller CJ, Gounder SS, Kannan S, Goutam K, Muthusamy VR, Firpo MA, Symons JD, Paine R 3rd, Hoidal JR, Rajasekaran NS (2012). Disruption of Nrf2/ARE signaling impairs antioxidant mechanisms and promotes cell degradation pathways in aged skeletal muscle. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1822(6), 1038-50.
  14. Keefe MD, Wang H, De La O JP, Khan A, Firpo MA, Murtaugh LC (2012). beta-catenin is selectively required for the expansion and regeneration of mature pancreatic acinar cells in mice. Dis Model Mech, 5(4), 503-14.
  15. Wilson MA, Orlandi RR, Firpo MA (2011). Correlating matrix metalloproteinase-9 sinus secretion levels with tissue biopsy levels. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol, 1(2), 106-8.
  16. Rajasekaran NS, Varadharaj S, Khanderao GD, Davidson CJ, Kannan S, Firpo MA, Zweier JL, Benjamin IJ (2011). Sustained activation of nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2/antioxidant response element signaling promotes reductive stress in the human mutant protein aggregation cardiomyopathy in mice. Antioxid Redox Signal, 14(6), 957-71.
  17. Fukuda A, Wang SC, Morris JP 4th, Folias AE, Liou A, Kim GE, Akira S, Boucher KM, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ, Hebrok M (2011). Stat3 and MMP7 contribute to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma initiation and progression. Cancer Cell, 19(4), 441-55.
  18. Lee M, Martin H, Firpo MA, Demerath EW (2011). Inverse association between adiposity and telomere length: The Fels Longitudinal Study. Am J Hum Biol, 23(1), 100-6.
  19. Scaife CL, Shea J, Emerson L, Boucher K, Firpo MA, Beckerle MC, Mulvihill SJ (2010). Prognostic significance of PINCH signalling in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. HPB (Oxford), 12(5), 352-8.
  20. Poruk KE, Firpo MA, Huerter LM, Scaife CL, Emerson LL, Boucher KM, Jones KA, Mulvihill SJ (2010). Serum platelet factor 4 is an independent predictor of survival and venous thromboembolism in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 19(10), 2605-10.
  21. Elia R, Fuegy PW, VanDelden A, Firpo MA, Prestwich GD, Peattie RA (2010). Stimulation of in vivo angiogenesis by in situ crosslinked, dual growth factor-loaded, glycosaminoglycan hydrogels. Biomaterials, 31(17), 4630-8.
  22. Firpo MA, Gay DZ, Granger SR, Scaife CL, DiSario JA, Boucher KM, Mulvihill SJ (2009). Improved diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma using haptoglobin and serum amyloid A in a panel screen. World J Surg, 33(4), 716-22.
  23. Scaife CL, Shea JE, Dai Q, Firpo MA, Prestwich GD, Mulvihill SJ (2008). Synthetic extracellular matrix enhances tumor growth and metastasis in an orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. J Gastrointest Surg, 12(6), 1074-80.
  24. Peattie RA, Pike DB, Yu B, Cai S, Shu XZ, Prestwich GD, Firpo MA, Fisher RJ (2008). Effect of gelatin on heparin regulation of cytokine release from hyaluronan-based hydrogels. Drug Deliv, 15(6), 389-97.
  25. Rajasekaran NS, Firpo MA, Milash BA, Weiss RB, Benjamin IJ (2008). Global expression profiling identifies a novel biosignature for protein aggregation R120GCryAB cardiomyopathy in mice. Physiol Genomics, 35(2), 165-72.
  26. Hosack LW, Firpo MA, Scott JA, Prestwich GD, Peattie RA (2008). Microvascular maturity elicited in tissue treated with cytokine-loaded hyaluronan-based hydrogels. Biomaterials, 29(15), 2336-47.
  27. Torgenson MJ, Shea JE, Firpo MA, Dai Q, Mulvihill SJ, Scaife CL (2008). Natural history of pancreatic cancer recurrence following "curative" resection in athymic mice. J Surg Res, 149(1), 57-61.
  28. Rollins MD, Sudarshan S, Firpo MA, Etherington BH, Hart BJ, Jackson HH, Jackson JD, Emerson LL, Yang DT, Mulvihill SJ, Glasgow RE (2006). Anti-inflammatory effects of PPAR-gamma agonists directly correlate with PPAR-gamma expression during acute pancreatitis. J Gastrointest Surg, 10(8), 1120-30.
  29. Riley CM, Fuegy PW, Firpo MA, Shu XZ, Prestwich GD, Peattie RA (2006). Stimulation of in vivo angiogenesis using dual growth factor-loaded crosslinked glycosaminoglycan hydrogels. Biomaterials, 27(35), 5935-43.
  30. Pike DB, Cai S, Pomraning KR, Firpo MA, Fisher RJ, Shu XZ, Prestwich GD, Peattie RA (2006). Heparin-regulated release of growth factors in vitro and angiogenic response in vivo to implanted hyaluronan hydrogels containing VEGF and bFGF. Biomaterials, 27(30), 5242-51.


  1. Deer EL, Gonzalez-Hernandez J, Coursen JD, Shea JE, Ngatia J, Scaife CL, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ (2010). Phenotype and genotype of pancreatic cancer cell lines. [Review]. Pancreas, 39(4), 425-35.