Mitochondrial Medicine in the Pandemic Era

Douglas C. Wallace, MD, PhD is the Michael and Charles Barrett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease and the Director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Human Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. Wallace has studied the role of mitochondrial genetics in human health and disease for 50 years. In the 1970s he defined the rules of mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genetics including demonstrating the maternal inheritance of the human mtDNA. He then used the mtDNA variation of indigenous peoples to reconstruct the origins and ancient migrations of women. He was the first to identify maternally inherited mtDNA diseases thus founding the field of mitochondrial molecular medicine and showed that naturally occurring mtDNA lineages contribute significantly to the risk of common metabolic and degenerative diseases. To confirm that mitochondrial variation is sufficient to cause disease, Wallace has spent over 25 years developing a unique array of mouse models of mitochondrial disease including both nuclear DNA and mtDNA mutations. He is a member of the US National Academies of Science and Medicine, and recipient of multiple awards including the Gruber Prize in Genetics in 2012 and the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Life Sciences and the Paul Janssen Prize for Biomedical Research in 2017.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Know the classes of clinically relevant mitochondrial DNA variants.
  2. Understand the connection between the mitochondrion and the epigenome.
  3. Know the effects on COVID-19 on mitochondrial function.


  • Douglas C. Wallace, MD, PhD

This seminar was delivered as a Pediatric Grand Rounds Lecture at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, on January 25, 2023.

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Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • Course Certificate
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