Douglas C. Wallace received his PhD in Microbiology and Human Genetics from Yale in 1975 and MD from the University of Padua in 2022. He has held faculty positions at Stanford, Emory, UC Irvine, and currently the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Wallace founded the field of Mitochondrial Medical Genetics. The mitochondria supply the cell’s energy and contain their own DNA, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which codes for key energy genes of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). In the 50 years that he has studied mammalian mitochondria he defined the rules of mtDNA genetics including demonstrating the maternal inheritance of the human mtDNA. He then used this information to discover the first mtDNA diseases and subsequently linked mitochondrial genetic variation to a wide range of metabolic, degenerative, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Wallace also showed that mtDNA variation accumulates sequentially along radiating maternal lineages and catalogued the mtDNA variation of indigenous peoples around the world permitting him to reconstruction the origin and ancient migrations of women. He then showed that a portion of the population-specific mtDNA variation permitted our ancestors to adapt to new environments and that some of these adaptive variants are risk factors for a wide range of diseases from autism to diabetes to neurodegenerative diseases. Wallace also created the first mouse models of mitochondrial disease and is using these models to understand the etiology of both rare and common diseases. His current research is examining the role of mitochondria dysfunction in viral infections, specifically SARS-CoV-2; neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer disease and neuropsychiatric disorders; cancer; immunology; and in the development of metabolic and genetic therapies.