Dr. Zipes received his B.A. cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1961, his M.D. cum laude from Harvard Medical School in 1964 and his postgraduate training at Duke University Medical Center from 1964 to 1968. He joined Indiana University School of Medicine in 1970 and became full Professor of Medicine in 1976, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Toxicology in 1994, and Director of the Cardiology Division and Krannert Institute of Cardiology in 1995.
He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He is founding director of the Indiana Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, past member of the National Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and is past president of the Indianapolis Opera, the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society, the Association of University Cardiologists, the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology/Heart Rhythm Society, and the American College of Cardiology. At the American Board of Internal Medicine, he has served as chairman of the Board, chairman of the subspecialty board on Cardiovascular Disease, and chairman of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Test Writing Committee.
He was the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology (1990-2004) and is now the founding editor of Heart Rhythm, the new journal of NASPE/Heart Rhythm Society. He is Consulting Editor for Circulation, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, and Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology. He has published over 700 articles and 17 books, and is a co-editor of all four editions of CARDIAC ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY: FROM CELL TO BEDSIDE, and of the 6th and 7th editions of HEART DISEASE: A TEXTBOOK OF CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE.
He has received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Heart Association (1989), the Distinguished Scientist Award from the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (1995), the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American College of Cardiology (1996), the Herrick Award from the American Heart Association (1997), Master of the American College of Cardiology (2002), and the Cor Vitae award from the American Heart Association (2004). His trainees have won first place in young investigator award competitions on four occasions and second or third place four times. In 2001, he received the "Sagamore of the Wabash" from the Governor of Indiana, Frank O'Bannon.
To celebrate his tenure as Division Chief, the following were endowed: the Medtronic Zipes Chair in Cardiology at Indiana University, the Douglas P. Zipes, MD Lectureship given at the annual Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions, and the Douglas P. Zipes, MD Distinguished Young Scientist Award given at the American College of Cardiology annual Scientific Sessions. The Honorable Baron P. Hill, House of Representatives, read a tribute to Dr. Zipes into the Congressional Record June 2, 2004.