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Douglas C. WALLACE

Michael and Charles Barnett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA

Wallace was the first to demonstrate cytoplasmic inheritance in human cells while a graduate student at Yale University from 1970 to 1975. In 1976, he moved to Stanford University as Assistant Professor of Genetics where he demonstrated the maternal inheritance of the human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), discovered that mtDNA variation is prevalent, correlated mtDNA variation with the origins of indigenous peoples, and demonstrated that all mtDNA variants are linked within a single mtDNA mutational tree. In 1983, Wallace moved to Emory University as Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Molecular Genetics where he identified the first maternally inherited mtDNA diseases, used mtDNA variation to reconstruct ancient human migrations, and developed the first mouse models of mitochondrial disease.  In 2002 he moved to the University for California, Irvine as the Donald Bren Professor of Molecular Medicine where he characterized mtDNA variation in common diseases, developed mtDNA mutant mice, and demonstrated that ancient mtDNA variation was adaptive. In 2010, Wallace moved to the CHOP as the Michael and Charles Barnett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease to found the CMEM.  At CHOP he has used his mouse models to demonstrate that mtDNA mutations can be sufficient to cause neurological, cardiac, muscle, and metabolic diseases; demonstrated that subtle variation in mitochondrial function has a major effect on an animals response to stress; discovered that mitochondria can communicate with each other; showed that mitochondria bioenergetics directly regulates the epigenome, and demonstrated that mtDNA variation can have a major effect on the expression of nuclear DNA gene mutations. In addition to his CHOP position, Wallace directs the DC Wallace Institute for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Information Sciences at Xi’an Jiaotong University.  He is an elected member of the US National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Italian National Academy of Sciences (Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL).  He is the recipient of the William Allan Award for Outstanding Work in Human Genetics, the Passano Award for Mitochondrial Genetics, the Pasarow Award for Cardiovascular Disease, the Metropolitan Life Foundation Award for Alzheimer's Disease, American College of Physicians Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine, The Chinese Academy of Sciences Albert Einstein Award, the Vanguard Award for Life Time Achievement from the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, and The Gruber Foundation Genetics Prize of 2012.