Douglas Wallace, PhD, one of the world's leading mitochondrial genetics researchers, joined Children's Hospital in July. Dr. Wallace, who comes to CHOP Research from the University of California — Irvine, where he led the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics, will continue his groundbreaking investigations into the role of mitochondrial energy in human health and disease.
More than 35 years ago Dr. Wallace helped to found the field of human mitochondrial genetics. Mitochondria are structures within each cell in the body that operate as the cellular power plant, generating most of the cell's energy. They also contain their own mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that is distinct from the DNA in the cell's nucleus. Dr. Wallace showed genetic alterations or mutations in mtDNA can result in a wide range of metabolic and degenerative diseases and play an important role in cancer and aging. He also found that mtDNA is inherited exclusively from the mother and used mtDNA variation to reconstruct the origin and ancient migrations of women.
Dr. Wallace will serve as the Michael and Charles Barnett Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease and director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine, a new CHOP Research Center of Emphasis. He will also hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wallace is a member of the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest professional honors for biomedical researchers, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Dr. Wallace will be the first CHOP Research investigator who is a member in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, an honor society representing distinguished scholars in scientific and engineering research.
"The addition of Dr. Wallace and his extraordinary research program, combined with CHOP's dedication to translational research, will help advance the understanding of — and potential treatment for — a multitude of disorders and diseases," says Philip Johnson, MD, chief scientific officer. "His decision to join our institution is testimony to CHOP Research's reputation as the preeminent worldwide leader in translational pediatric research."