Colin Russell

Colin Russell

  • Senior Fellow

Colin Russell is a Professor of Applied Evolutionary Biology at the Amsterdam University Medical Center (AMC). He studies the evolution of pathogens and the host responses that control them, and most of his research focuses on influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses – however, he is interested in pathogens of all kinds.

He currently heads the Virus Evolution Team at the AMC. Together with his team of computational and wet-lab biologists, he works at the interface of evolution, epidemiology, and pathogen biology. The team uses empirically derived data on pathogens and their hosts to understand pathogen evolution. This includes integrative analyses of pathogen genetic and phenotypic data, as well as clinical and epidemiological data to study the molecular determinants of protein evolution, host-pathogen interactions and pathogenesis, within-host pathogen diversity, and between-host pathogen epidemiology.

He and his team work closely with scientists in other wet laboratories and clinical settings to inform the experimental design and acquire primary data. Their research employs a range of computational techniques including modeling of protein structures, molecular phylogenetics, statistical models for quantifying pathogen phenotypes, and mathematical models for broad data synthesis.

Additional to this, Colin is the current ERC Consolidator Awardee (2019-2024) and ZonMw/NWO VICI Laureate (2021-2026). He moved to AMC in 2017 to head the Laboratory of Applied Evolutionary Biology, having received his BSc from Emory University in 2001 and Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 2006. Following his PhD, he remained at the University of Cambridge, first as a Junior Research Fellow of Clare College and then as a Royal Society University Research Fellow.