Dr. Russell is the CEO of Vyriad. He is also the Richard O Jacobson Professor of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic and President of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. He obtained his MD from the University of Edinburgh in 1982 and since that time has relentlessly pursued the goal of effective oncolytic virotherapy. He specialized clinically in hematology, then undertook his PhD training at the Royal Marsden hospital where he was the first to engineer both retroviral and parvoviral vectors to deliver interleukin genes for cancer immunotherapy. He then moved to Cambridge, England where he led a research team in the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, developed a novel method for antibody affinity maturation using phage display libraries, pioneered the display antibody domains on retroviral vector particles and on recombinant measles viruses, and founded Cambridge Genetics, a biotechnology/drug discovery company.
In 1998 he moved to Mayo Clinic where he founded the Department of Molecular Medicine, built a comprehensive oncolytic virotherapy program, developed innovative engineering approaches for targeting, arming and noninvasively monitoring OV infections, and orchestrated the GMP manufacture, preclinical pharmacological/ toxicological testing, IND filing and clinical translation of a number of oncolytic Measles and Vesicular stomatitis viruses for several different cancer indications. He co-founded two oncolytic virotherapy companies which merged in 2015, thereby establishing Vyriad as the first multi-platform OV company.