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Michael W. Russell

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo

Michael W. Russell has officially retired from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo (UB), The State University of New York. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, UK (BA 1966, MA 1970) and the University of Reading, UK (PhD 1973). He has ~50 years of research experience in mucosal immunology especially in relation to the mouth and genital tract, and the biological functions of IgA antibodies. After post-doctoral work at Guy’s Hospital Medical and Dental Schools (London, UK), he was at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the mucosal immunology group (1979 to 2000). He moved to UB as Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and of Oral Biology in 2000, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2016. Now as Chief Scientific Officer for Therapyx, Inc., his research interests focus on immunity to Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and the development of novel immunological therapies as well as a vaccine against it, based on discoveries made in his laboratory at UB. Together with other leading mucosal immunologists, he published a Perspective article in Frontiers of Immunology (November 2000) calling attention to the need to consider mucosal immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 as an important aspect of immunity to COVID-19. A follow-up review on the importance of mucosal immunity in SARS-CoV-2 infection and the control of transmissions was published in Frontiers in Immunology in August 2022.


  • 2016–present
    Professor Emeritus, University at Buffalo
  • 2000–2016
    Professor, University at Buffalo
  • 1982–2000
    Research Assistant/Assocate/Full Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 1987–1988
    Visiting Associate Professor, Royal Dental College, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 1979–1982
    Visiting Scientist, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 1972–1979
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Guy's Hospital Medical and Dental Schools
  • 1968–1972
    Research Student, National Institute for Research in Dairying


  • 1973 
    University of Reading, PhD
  • 1970 
    University of Cambridge, MA
  • 1966 
    University of Cambridge, BA

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Association of Immunologists
  • Society for Mucosal Immunology
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science