Scientific Advisors

Headshot of Doug Wallace wearing a white collared shirt and a tan blazer

Douglas Wallace, PhD

Douglas C. Wallace, PhD is Director of the Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He holds the Michael and Charles Barnett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Diseases. More than 35 years ago, Dr. Wallace and his colleagues founded the field of human mitochondrial genetics. His current focus is on how mitochondria regulate degenerative diseases including those associated with aging and primary mitochondrial diseases.

Headshot of Nav Chandel wearing a white collared shirt and a dark blazer

Nav Chandel, PhD

Navdeep S. Chandel, PhD is the David W. Cugell, MD, Professor of Medicine, and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago, USA). His laboratory is interested in understanding how mitochondria work as signaling organelles by releasing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and metabolites to control inflammation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Chandel shared the 2023 FNIH Lurie Prize (Foundation for the National Institutes of Health) for  important and distinct discoveries in the field of mitochondrial science by exploring the characteristics and functions of mitochondria in human physiology and disease.

Headshot of Mike Murphy FMedSci in a laboratory.

Mike Murphy, PhD

Mike Murphy, PhD is a Professor of Mitochondrial Biology at University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK) and Wellcome Trust Investigator as well as a program leader at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, UK.  Murphy’s research focuses on using biochemical approaches to uncover the roles of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) in diseases including inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and aging.

Headshot of Jared Rutter wearing a gray collared shirt, in front of a dark gray background

Jared Rutter, PhD

Dr. Jared Rutter is a Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and holds the Dee Glen and Ida Smith Endowed Chair for Cancer Research at the University of Utah where he has been on the faculty since 2003.  Dr. Rutter received his PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2001, working with Dr. Steve McKnight.  After receiving his PhD, he spent 18 months as the Sara and Frank McKnight Independent Fellow of Biochemistry before joining the faculty at the University of Utah.  In 2015, Dr. Rutter was appointed as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  The Rutter laboratory has identified the functions of several previously uncharacterized mitochondrial proteins, including the discovery of the long-sought mitochondrial pyruvate carrier.  This knowledge has now enabled for the first time the demonstration that this critical metabolic step is impaired in a variety of human diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.  In addition, the Rutter lab is taking multiple approaches to understand the mechanisms whereby cells sense metabolic state and modulate their fate decisions. Dr. Rutter is actively involved in translating academic discoveries into therapies for patients.  This has included founding and/or serving as a consultant or member of the advisory board of several companies and venture firms.  Dr. Rutter also serves as co-Director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Center at the University of Utah and co-Leader of the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Headshot of Anu Suomalainen Wartiovaara wearing a green blouse over a blue shirt

Anu Suomalainen-Wartiovaara, MD, PhD

Anu Suomalainen-Wartiovaara, MD, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Molecular Medicine and Academy Professor in the University of Helsinki. She is a physician-scientist that heads the Mitochondrial Medicine research group in FinMIT Centre of Excellence in the University of Helsinki, focusing on metabolism, molecular pathophysiology of mitochondrial and degenerative disorders and uses molecular knowledge for developing tailored treatments. One of her key research areas is to understand the mechanisms underlying primary mitochondrial disease.

Headshot of Gerald Shadel wearing a maroon collared shirt and a gray blazer

Gerald Shadel, PhD

Gerald Shadel, PhD is a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and the Audrey Geisel Chair in Biomedical Science; Director, San Diego-Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging at Salk Institute (San Diego, USA). His work focuses on how mitochondria regulate immune responses in the context of aging and inflammatory diseases. Shadel is a recipient of Amgen Outstanding Investigator Award and The Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award.

Headshot of Erika Pearce

Erika Pearce, PhD

Erika Pearce, PhD is a leading immunologist known for her work on immune cell metabolism, which has illuminated fundamental mechanisms in cell biology. Her research investigates how metabolic pathways in immune cells can lead to disease and how to target these pathways for therapy, and holds promise for important clinical applications.

Pearce’s research group uses a variety of approaches to address key questions in immune cell metabolism, and how this impacts immunity to infection and cancer. Her work is focused on the role of metabolism in regulating the development and function of T cells, white blood cells that play a central role in the body’s immune response. Having found that structural changes to the mitochondria affect the mitochondrial metabolism, and that this metabolism fuels the differentiation, survival, and function of T cells, Pearce is now working to develop ways to make better, long-lived T cells that will improve immune therapies against tumors, pathogens, and other diseases.

Headshot of Nick Lane

Nick Lane, PhD

Nick Lane, PhD is Professor of Evolutionary Biochemistry at UCL. He was a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research and is Co-Director of the UCL Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution. His research is about how energy flow has shaped evolution from the origin of life to the emergence of complex traits such as sex, death and consciousness. Lane has written five books on energy and evolution, and has received many awards for his work, including the 2015 Biochemical Society Award and the 2016 Royal Society Faraday Prize.

Portrait of Martin Picard, PhD

Martin Picard, PhD

Martin Picard, PhD is an Associate Professor at Columbia University Irving Medical Center where he directs the Mitochondrial Psychobiology Laboratory. His translational research program investigates organelle-to-organism communication mechanisms linking the human experience with molecular and energetic processes within mitochondria.

Headshot of Jonathan Brestoff

Jonathan Brestoff, MD, PhD, MPH

Jonathan R. Brestoff, MD, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Immunology and physician-scientist at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine (WashU). His research focuses on understanding how innate immune cells and adipocytes interact to regulate the development of metabolic diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Through studying this topic, his laboratory has developed a strong interest and expertise in mitochondria transfer. He seeks to understand how and why cells transfer mitochondria to each other and is interested in harnessing this biological process for therapeutic purposes.

Heidi McBride wearing a dark pink sweater

Heidi McBride, PhD

Dr. McBride is a Professor at McGill University in the Montreal Neurological Institute. Her work focuses on the molecular mechanisms and function of mitochondrial dynamics. The overarching theme is to understand the fundamental behavior of the mitochondria and identify the molecular mechanisms of communication required to mediate cellular transitions, including metabolic, cell cycle, immune pathways and cell death transitions.  Recent areas of research interest include mechanisms of mitochondrial contributions to neurodegeneration; the generation of inter-organellar contacts that facilitate metabolic flux; and the role of the mitochondria as a unique signaling platform in