Kevin M. Brindle, D. Phil.

Professor of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance,
Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK
Cambridge Research Institute

Kevin M. Brindle, D. Phil., is Professor of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and a senior group leader in the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. He became involved in magnetic resonance in 1978 when he started a D. Phil. on 1H NMR studies of cells with Prof. Iain Campbell FRS at the University of Oxford, where he was also an undergraduate.

He joined the laboratory of Prof. Sir George Radda FRS at Oxford in 1983 and in 1986 became a Royal Society University Research Fellow. In 1990 he moved to a lectureship at the University of Manchester and in 1993 to a lectureship in Cambridge, where he became Professor in 2005. His initial work involved studies of the kinetic properties of enzymes in cells and tissues using molecular genetic, isotope exchange and magnetization transfer methods. This also involved the development of methods to study proteins in intact cells.

In 1990 he started work in the field of cancer, initially using DCE MRI to study the action of anti-vascular drugs and subsequently he developed methods to detect tumor cell death post-treatment, which included a targeted MRI contrast agent. Since 2006 he has been working on metabolic imaging with hyperpolarized 13C-labelled cell substrates to detect treatment response in tumors.

He is currently associated with the editorial boards of NMR in Biomedicine, Contrast Media and Molecular Imaging and Molecular Imaging and is a senior editor at a new on-line journal entitled Cancer and Metabolism. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012.

Douglas Wallace

Douglas C. Wallace, Ph.D.

Michael and Charles Barnett Endowed Chair in Pediatric Mitochondrial Medicine and Metabolic Disease

Director, Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute

Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Wallace has been working on human and mammalian mitochondrial genetics for 40 years. He was the first to demonstrate that mammalian cells harbored cytoplasmically inherited genes by inventing the cybrid transfer technique in the early 1970s and using this system to demonstrate that mammalian chloramphenicol resistance could be transferred from cell to cell by fusing only a cytoplasmic fragment, a cytoplast, in the absence of a nucleus. He then proceeded during the 1970s to define the rules of mammalian mitochondrial genetics, culminating in his demonstration of the maternal inheritance of the human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in 1980. From this foundation, his research followed two paths: the investigation of the nature and extent of human mtDNA variation in aboriginal populations and the quest for diseases resulting from mutations in the mtDNA. The population studies revealed that mtDNA variation was unique in that it correlated highly with the ethnic and geographic origins of indigenous peoples. This ultimately led to the realization that mtDNA variation was limited by natural selection and that mtDNA variation has been an important adaptive system for permitting people to survive and multiple in the range of different human environments.

The quest for mtDNA diseases culminated in 1988 with the report by Wallace that Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) was caused by a mtDNA missense mutation, making it the first maternally inherited mtDNA disease to be identified. Since that time, Wallace has not only shown that mtDNA mutations result in a wide range of clinical phenotypes but also that somatic mtDNA mutations are central to the aging process as well as for various age-related diseases such as Alzheimer and Huntington Disease. When the population specific mtDNA variation was compared to the frequency of common "complex" diseases, it was found that ancient mtDNA variation plays an important role in predisposition to many of these diseases. Thus, mtDNA variation has now been shown to be central to both rare and common multi-system diseases.

Dr. Wallace is a member of NAS, IOM and AAAS and has received the Allan and Passano Awards for Mitochondrial Genetics, Pasarow Award for Cardiovascular Research, Metropolitan Life Award for Alzheimer Disease, the 2012 Gruber Genetics Prize, and the 2013 ACP Award for Science as Related to Medicine Award.

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