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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Colin Russell

Dr Colin Russell

Principal Research Associate

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Colin Russell is interested in taking PhD students.

Colin Russell is available for consultancy.

Office Phone: 01223 761358

Subject groups/Research projects

Mathematical Biology:

Departments and Institutes

Cambridge Infectious Diseases:

Research Interests

My research focuses on the interface between infectious disease evolution and epidemiology. I am particularly interested in how processes operating at different evolutionary and epidemiological scales act in concert to give rise to patterns in disease population dynamics. The majority of my work focuses on influenza viruses due to the wealth of available data, the breadth of unanswered fundamental questions, and the opportunity for major public health impact.


  • Genomics
  • Evolution
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Emerging diseases
  • Epidemic control
  • Public health
  • Virology
  • Infection
  • Vaccines
  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious disease dynamics
  • Influenza
  • Emerging viral diseases
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Dynamics
  • Infectious Diseases

Key Publications

Russell CA, P Kasson, RO Donis, J Dunbar, J Asher, S Burke, CT Davis, R Garten, S Gnanakaran, S Hay, S Herfst, N Lewis, J Lloyd-Smith, C Macken, S Maurer-Stroh, E Neuhaus, C Parrish, K Pepin, A Rambaut, S Riley, S Shepard, DL Smith, D Suarez, S Trock, M-A Widdowson, D George, M Lipsitch, JD Bloom. Improving pandemic influenza risk assessment. eLife. 3:e03883. (2014) article

Neher R, CA Russell, BI Shraiman. Predicting evolution from the shape of genealogical trees. eLife. In press. (2014)

Watanabe T*, G Zhang*, CA Russell*, N Nakajima, M Hatta, A Hanson, R McBride, S Watanabe, M Imai, G Neumann, H Hasegawa, J Paulson, DJ Smith, Y Kawaoka. Circulating avian influenza viruses with pandemic potential due to their relatedness to the 1918 virus. Cell Host & Microbe. 15:692-705. (2014) *co-first authors 

Koel BF,  DF Burke, TM Bestebroer, S van der Vliet, GCM Zondag, G Vervaet, E Skepner, NS Lewis, MIJ Spronken, CA Russell, MY Eropkin, AC Hurt, IG Barr, JC de Jong, GF Rimmelzwaan, ADME Osterhaus, RAM Fouchier, DJ Smith. Substitutions near the receptor binding site determine major antigenic change during influenza virus evolution. Science. 342:976-979(2013)

Russell CA, J Fonville, AEX Brown, DF Burke, DL Smith, S James, S Herfst, S van Boheeman, M Linster, EJ Schwauren, L Katzelnick, A Mosterin, T Kuiken, E Maher, G Neumann,  ADME Osterhaus, Y Kawaoka, RAM Fouchier, DJ Smith. The potential for airborne transmissible avian A/H5N1 influenza viruses to evolve in nature. Science. 336:1541-1547. (2012)

Garten RJ, CT Davis, CA Russell, B Shu, S Lindstrom, A Balish, WM Sessions, X Xu, E Skepner, V Deyde, M Okomo-Adhiambo, L Gubareva, J Barnes, CB Smith, SL Emery, MJ Hillman, P Rivailler, J Smagala, M de Graaf,  DF Burke, RAM Fouchier, C Pappas, CM Alpuche-Aranda, H López-Gatell, H Olivera, I López, CA Myers, D Faix, PJ Blair, C Yu, KM Keene, PD Dotson, D Boxrud, AR Sambol, SH Abid, K St. George, T Bannerman, AL Moore, DJ Stringer, P Blevins, GJ Demmler-Harrison, M Ginsberg, P Kriner, S Waterman, S Smole, HF Guevara, EA Belongia, PA Clark, ST Beatrice, R Donis, J Katz, L Finelli, CB Bridges, M Shaw, DB Jernigan, TM Uyeki, DJ Smith, AI Klimov, NJ Cox. Antigenic and genetic characteristics of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza viruses circulating in humans. Science. 325:197-201. (2009)

Russell CA, TC Jones, IG Barr, NJ Cox, R Garten, V Gregory, I Gust, AW Hampson, AJ Hay, AC Hurt, JC de Jong, AI Klimov, T Kageyama, N Komadina, AS Lapedes, YP Lin, A Mosterin, M Obuchi, T Odagiri, ADME Osterhaus, GF Rimmelzwaan, MW Shaw, E Skepner, K Stohr, M Tashiro, RAM Fouchier, DJ Smith. The global circulation of seasonal influenza A(H3N2) viruses. Science. 320:340-346. (2008)

A complete list of publications can be found here.