Douglas C. Wallace, PhD, a pioneer and internationally prominent scientist in the field of human mitochondrial genetics, has established the Center of Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine (CMEM) at CHOP Research. The center will focus on mitochondria, tiny structures within our cells that produce 90 percent of the body's energy. Mitochondrial function plays essential roles in health and disease across the lifespan.
Dr. Wallace, who holds the Michael and Charles Barnett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease, joined CHOP Research after serving as the founder and director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics at the University of California-Irvine. His many achievements include leading a group at Stanford University that identified mitochondrial DNA – the DNA within each mitochondrion — is distinct from the more familiar nuclear DNA inside chromosomes, and finding that mitochondrial DNA variation is common and correlated with ancestral geographic origins.
"Because energy flow is central to all life processes, mitochondria play a central role throughout the life cycle," says Dr. Wallace. "Therefore, our findings in age-related diseases help us to better understand how mitochondria dysfunction contributes to pediatric diseases, and vice-versa. Consequently, we hope to contribute to many of the excellent clinical research programs that exist throughout the outstanding clinical divisions of Children's Hospital."