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David W. Russell received a BA degree in biology from UT Austin in 1975 and a PhD in chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1980. He was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow from 1980-1982 with Nobel laureate Dr. Michael Smith (Chemistry, 1993) at the University of British Columbia. He joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 1982, was promoted to professor in 1990, and received the McDermott Distinguished Chair of Molecular Genetics in 1992.

Dr. Russell’s research interests are in lipid metabolism, in particular the enzymatic pathways that dispose of cholesterol. His laboratory has isolated over a dozen genes that encode enzymes involved in cholesterol breakdown, and has identified the molecular bases of six human genetic diseases characterized by abnormal cholesterol and lipid metabolism. Dr. Russell and Dr. Joseph Sambrook are the authors of the best selling molecular biology cloning manual, Molecular Cloning, published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Dr. Russell is the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Katz Award from the American Heart Association, the Kilby Science Place Award from Texas Instruments, the Oppenheimer Award from the Endocrine Society, the Windaus Prize from the Falck Foundation, the Avanti Award in Lipids from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Barbara Bowman Distinguished Geneticist Award from the Texas Genetics Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2011.


University of Texas at Austin (1975)
Graduate School
University of North Carolina A (1980)

Research Interest

  • Cholesterol metabolism, lipid synthesis


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Lucky, times ten: A career in Texas science.
Russell DW J. Biol. Chem. 2018 Dec 293 49 18804-18827
Oxysterol Restraint of Cholesterol Synthesis Prevents AIM2 Inflammasome Activation.
Dang EV, McDonald JG, Russell DW, Cyster JG Cell 2017 Oct
Steroid 5a-Reductase 2 Deficiency.
Mendonca BB, Batista RL, Domenice S, Costa EM, Arnhold IJ, Russell DW, Wilson JD J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 2016 May
Genetic, anatomic, and clinical determinants of human serum sterol and vitamin D levels.
Stiles AR, Kozlitina J, Thompson BM, McDonald JG, King KS, Russell DW Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2014 Sep 111 38 E4006-14
25-Hydroxycholesterol Secreted by Macrophages in Response to Toll-like Receptor Activation Suppresses Immunoglobulin A Production.
Bauman, D.R., Bitmansour, A.D., McDonald, J.G., Thompson, B.M., Liang, G., Russell, D.W. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA September 2009 106 16764-9

Honors & Awards

  • U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Adolph Windaus Prize, Falk Foundation, Germany
  • Ernst Oppenheimer Award, Endocrine Society
  • Kilby Science Place Award, Texas Instruments
  • Louis N. Katz Award, American Heart Association