Biology Assistant Professor Mark Pellegrino always knew he wanted to be a biologist. "This was partly due to my fascination for how living things work," he says. "I was also attracted to the challenge of the discipline." Now the native Canadian is an internationally renowned biologist who recently discovered that a response pathway that normally repairs mitochondria is also an important activator of innate immunity. His groundbreaking research has important implications for multiple conditions, such as cancer and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Pellegrino, who was a postdoctoral associate in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's cell biology program, brought his expertise to UTA thanks to a $823,067 grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. "I am hopeful that my lab's research into the mechanisms of mitochondrial quality control will translate into the development of therapeutics to treat diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders," he says.