Dr. Russell’s scientific training, background, experience, and productivity encompass a range of disciplines and forge linkages in the continuum between quantitative biology, bioengineering and physiology. Her current NIH support funds collaborative projects on heart failure for remodeling of hearts cells in response to mechanical cues, and the for natural tissue regeneration using bioengineering approaches. Many of her studies have been done in close collaboration with clinicians (heart failure, muscular dystrophies, urinary incontinence).
Dr. Russell served as Director of the Graduate Division of Cell Biology at Rush (1977-1988). At UIC she was Associate Dean of the Graduate College (1994-1997), Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1997-1999) and Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research (1999 to 2011). She was the UIC Research Integrity Officer from 1996 to 2011. She served six years (2013-2019) as President of the UIC chapter for the State University Annuitant Association (SUAA). She currently serves on the Advisory Council of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies.
Major research often requires collaboration and interdisciplinary resources. Dr. Russell has chaired several cross-disciplinary task forces at UIC including regenerative medicine with stem cells (clinical, basic biomedical and bioengineering), environmental science and policy (public health, political science, pollution and geology), tobacco-related research (prevention psychology, basic biomedical, cancer, clinical treatment), bioinformatics (computer science, genomics, health informatics, biotech entrepreneurs), and structural biology (proteomics, crystallography, molecular biology). She was the founding Scientific Director for UIC of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (2001) fostering interactions with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University to enable and encourage interdisciplinary research that is beyond the range of a single institution and thereby to promote educational, health and commercial developments that will benefit the Chicago community at large.
Dr. Brenda Russell and Dr. Tejal Desai (UCSF) founded Cell Habitats, Inc an early-stage biomedical device company developing an easy-to-administer, microdevice that allows the natural repair and regeneration of damaged tissue. They have approved patents in this area, and raised early funding but the company failed.
Dr. Russell is married to Dr. Jack Cooksey and has four children, Ben (1969), Emily (1973), Jill (1974) and Sally (1979); two step children Gregory (1978) and Jessica (1979); and seven grandchildren.