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Professor Graham Russell

Professor Graham Russell


Professor Graham Russell HonFBPhS


Oxford and Sheffield University

Year elected:


I am a retired but still active Professor of Musculoskeletal Pharmacology at Oxford and Sheffield Universities. I graduated with First Class Honours in Biochemistry from Cambridge in 1962. After a PhD from Leeds I completed medical studies in Oxford. I was at Harvard from 1974-76, and then Professor of Human Metabolism at Sheffield from 1977-2001. I returned to Oxford as the first Director of the newly established Botnar Research Centre from 2001-7. Working with Herbert Fleisch in Switzerland in the 1960s, we established the role of pyrophosphate as ‘nature’s water softener’ regulating biological mineralization. This led on to our discovery of the biological effects of bisphosphonates (BPs), as first reported in 1969. Bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption and remain the major medicines used worldwide to treat bone disorders, including Paget’s disease, skeletal metastases, myeloma and osteoporosis. We continue to study the molecular mechanisms of action and pharmacology of BPs. Among awards, I have received the Neuman award and the Rodan Excellence in Mentorship award from the American Society of Bone and Mineral Metabolism. I became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008.