Alan Russell, Ph.D.


Dr. Alan Russell (Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry, 1987, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London) is the Highmark Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and Director of CMU’s Disruptive Health Technology Institute. Dr. Russell holds appointments in the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems and the Departments of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. In addition to his appointments at the CMU, Dr. Russell is the Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President of the Allegheny Health Network. He has founded three biotechnology companies and serves of the Board of three others. Prior to joining CMU, Dr. Russell was the Founding Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, serving in that capacity from 2001-2011. He was also the Founding President of the now 4,000+ member Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society. Dr. Russell served as Chair of the College of Fellows for the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering for 2012.

Dr. Russell serves on the Science Board to the Food and Drug Administration and recently Chaired the scientific review sub-committee for the Center for Devices and Radiologic Health. Dr. Russell has served many scientific roles for the Department of Defense, including being a member of the Defense Health Board and the founding Co-Director of the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

For the last 25 years, the Russell laboratory has been discovering what can be achieved by exploiting the rich interface of chemistry, biology and materials. Dr. Russell’s work has impacted fields as diverse as chemical and polymer synthesis to tissue engineering and homeland defense. Dr. Russell has pioneered how to make polymers from enzymes and how to incorporate enzymes into bulk polymers. In a series of discoveries Dr. Russell’s laboratory has found how to meld the synthetic and biological worlds.

Within the scientific community, Dr. Russell has participated in 24 advisory boards. Since the outset of his career, he has received numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to research, teaching and public service. These awards include R&D 100 Award – 2000 (R&D Magazine), three Carnegie Science Center Awards for Excellence – 2000 to 2006, sixteen consecutive appearances in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering – 1992 through the present, the Gilbreth Lectureship from the National Academy of Engineering – 2004, and the Cockroft Rutherford lectureship from the University of Manchester – 2007, the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Manchester – 2008, #32 in Rolling Stone‘s “Top 100 People who will change America” – 2009, the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Pittsburgh Award – 2010, and the Ladies Hospital Aid Society Doctor of Distinction Award – 2011. In 2013 Dr. Russell was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award by the TERMIS and in 2014 the President’s Award from the ESWPA.

Dr. Russell has contributed significantly to the interface between the fields of chemistry, biology, and material science. He has given more than 250 national and international invited lectures. Dr. Russell has published over 175 articles in refereed journals, one book, and 10 book chapters and holds 14 patents, with over 25 additional pending patents.

Alan Russell, Ph.D.

Director, Disruptive Health Technology Institute Carnegie Mellon University


Ph.D., University of London