Dr. Russell is a Professor of Molecular Medicine, Consultant Hematologist at Mayo Clinic Rochester and serves on the Board of Trustees of Buena Vista University, Iowa. He was formerly the Dean for Discovery and Experimental Research at Mayo Clinic. He obtained his MD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and his PhD from the University of London, England. He trained at University College Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, then moved to Cambridge, England where he led a research team in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, founded Cambridge Genetics, a biotechnology/drug discovery company that succeeded through a series of mergers, and was a practicing consultant hematologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. In 1998 he moved to Mayo Clinic where he chaired the Department of Molecular Medicine, built a comprehensive translational gene and virus therapy program, developed innovative technologies for targeting viruses to cancer cells, and orchestrated the first-in-human testing of oncolytic Measles and Vesicular stomatitis viruses. In addition to his academic faculty role, he is currently serving as CEO of Vyriad, an oncolytic virotherapy company.
His research is focused on developing engineered viruses for the treatment of disseminated malignancies and demonstrating their efficacy in clinical trials. Research themes in his laboratory include the engineering of viral membrane glycoproteins, targeting cell to cell fusion, targeting virus entry, using cellular microRNAs to reprogramme virus tropism, modulating and exploiting virus-tumor-immune system interactions, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies of virus-based therapies, noninvasive monitoring and imaging of viral gene expression in vivo, and radiovirotherapy. He is a practicing haematologist.