Alan Russell is the Highmark Distinguished Career Professor at Carnegie Mellon University and the director of Carnegie Mellon's Disruptive Health Technology Institute. Russell is also the chief innovation officer and executive vice president of the Allegheny Health Network. Russell was educated at the University of Manchester (B.Sc.) and Imperial College (Ph.D.) before becoming a NATO Fellow at MIT. He then accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Chemical Engineering. After serving as chair of the Department he became the founding director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Russell has published over 150 papers and been awarded over 20 patents. His research team described the first use of enzymes in ionic liquids, the first use of pressure to control enzyme activity in supercritical fluids, the first stabilization of enzymes for chemical weapon defense, and the first use of ATRP to grow polymers from the surface of proteins. Russell's enzyme stabilization technology was singled out for the U.S. Army's Greatest Invention Award and products containing the core chemistry are now used to monitor activities in countries suspected of developing and using chemical weapons. The technology has been the foundation for almost $1 billion in procurement contracts since it began as a thesis topic in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Russell currently serves on the boards of Greffex Inc., Applicell Inc., and a new emerging medical imaging company, Optix Medical. Russell has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the ESWP's President's Award for Engineering Excellence and the TERMIS Lifetime Achievement Award, and was ranked #32 in Rolling Stone's "Top 100 People who will Change America" in 2009.

A207D Doherty Hall
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Alan Russell
Russell Laboratory

Protein-Polymer Conjugates: Small Tools for Big Problems

Creating Next-Generation Therapeutics


1987 Ph.D., Biological Chemistry, Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London

1984 BS, Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Salting down the cost of protein-polymer drugs

Alan Russell and Stefanie Baker have developed a novel method to purify the protein-polymer conjugates used in pharmaceuticals to ensure they perform properly.

PR Newswire

DoD awards BioHybrid Solutions $30M

Protein engineering company Biohybrid Solutions, founded by ChemE’s Alan Russell and Chemistry’s Kryzsztof Mtyjaszewski, has just been awarded a $30 million contract by the U.S. Department of Defense. This award, granted through the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and sponsored by the Medical CBRN Defense Consortium (MCDC), will support the application of BioHybrid Solutions’ “proprietary NanoArmored protein engineering technology to improve pharmacokinetics of the prophylactic while reducing the potential for immunogenic side effects.”

CMU Engineering

The root of the matter

A team from the College of Engineering has used the natural architecture of the mangrove tree to unlock a better method of desalination.

CMU Engineering

Protein cuisine

Alan Russell has earned the Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2018 Innovator Award as co-founder of startup BioHybrid Solutions.

Pittsburgh Business Times

Russell receives Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2018 Innovator Award

ChemE’s Alan Russell was awarded the 2018 Innovator Award by the Pittsburgh Business Times for his work with BioHybrid Solutions, a company he co-founded with Chemistry’s Krzysztof Matyjaszewski.

CMU Engineering

Producing protein nano-armor

Alan Russell and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski have published a paper in Nature Communications describing a new technique, PARIS, allowing the researchers to grow “protein nano-armor.”

CMU Engineering

An easier prescription

Using a technique called Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP), Carnegie Mellon researchers created a packaged protein that survives digestion-like conditions and is easily transported across the intestinal barrier in a cell culture model.