Michael J. Russell, PhD

  • AU/UGA Medical Partnership

    Associate Professor of Physiology

Michael Russell, PhD serves as a Basic Science Educator for the AU/UGA Medical Partnership, and is also an Associate Professor of Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Medical College of Georgia. He is adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, at Mercer University School of Medicine. Russell earned his PhD at the University of Notre Dame.


1998 BS Biological Sciences Indiana University
2003 PhD Physiology University of Notre Dame


2003-2005 Smooth Muscle Physiology Postdoc Training Indiana University School of Medicine

Academic Appointments

2005-2010 Assistant Professor of Physiology, Mercer University School of Medicine
2010- Present Associate Professor of Physiology, AU/UGA Medical Partnership
2010 -Present Assistant Clinical Professor, Internal Medicine Adjunct, Mercer University School of Medicine

More About Michael Russell

Russell received his PhD in Physiology from the University of Notre Dame, where he earned National Science foundation and Schmitt Fellowships. After completing an American Heart Association Post-doctoral Fellowship, he joined the faculty at Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM) in 2005.  At MUSM, Russell earned a NIH R15 award to study three-dimensional cardiac accelerometry as a novel method for monitoring cardiac muscle mechanical function. In addition, he continued his work studying hypoxic vasoconstriction in sea lamprey, a member of the most primitive class of vertebrates, and established and Co-directed a summer bench research program for all students enrolled in the Certified Nurse Anesthesia program. For 4 of his 5 years at Mercer, Russell served on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and Chaired the Research Committee for the medical school in 2007. In his last year before joining the Partnership, Russell established a confocal microscopy core at MUSM and served as its Director. Since joining the Partnership, Russell has served on various faculty search committees and currently is part of the MCG Program Evaluation Team.

Russell continues to be committed to medical student learning and professional development.  In the last 10 years he has mentored 30 students in research projects and has more than 10 years of experience teaching in small groups and serves as a coach in the Medical Partnership Community Health program. Since joining the Partnership, Russell has taken an active interest in medical education research. In his spare time, Russell maintains a farm and volunteers his time to the Southeast Llama Rescue League as a foster home for Llamas and alpacas, and has fostered a horse for the Georgia Equine Rescue League.

  • Expertise & Interests

    • Comparative animal models of hypoxic vasoconstriction
    • Non-invasive methods of cardiac monitoring
    • Professional student development through novel learning methodologies and assessment
  • Research Interests

    • Effects of hypoxia on local regulation of microvascular tone.
    • Three dimensional cardiac accelerometry as a non-invasive method to measure cardiac contractility.
    • Designing developmentally appropriate teaching and learning strategies for Physiology in the first year of medical school. 
  • Selected Publications

    Olson KR, Dombkowski RA, Russell MJ, Whitfield NL, Gao Y, and Madden JA. Anion dependence in hydrogen sulfide and hypoxia-induced vasoactivity. Submitted to Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol., 2013. In revision.

    Peters RD, James EA, Russell MJ.  Amplitude Modulation Effects in Cardiac Signals.  arXiv:1011.1880v1, 2010.

    Russell. MJ; Dombkowski, RA; Olson, KR. Effects of hypoxia on vertebrate blood vessels. J Exp Zool Part A Ecol Genet Physiol. 2008 Mar 1; 309(2):55-63.

    Olson, KR; Dombkowski, RA; Russell, MJ; Doellman, MM, Head, SK; Whitfield, NL; Madden, JA. Hydrogen sulfide as an oxygen sensor/transducer in vertebrate hypoxic vasoconstriction and vasodilation. Jour Exp Biol. 2006. Nov; 209(20):4011-23.

    Dombkowski,RA; Russell, MJ; Schulman, AA; Doellman, MM; Olson, KR. Vertebrate phylogeny of hydrogen sulfide vasoactivity.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005. 288:R243-252.

    Dombkowski, RA; Russell, MJ; Olson, KR. Hydrogen sulfide as an endogenous regulator of vascular smooth muscle tone in trout. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 286: R678-R685, 2004.

  • Affiliations

    American Physiological Society 

  • Of Note

    • Best Poster Award, Southeastern Group on Educational affairs (SGEA), 2013.
    • Young Investigator Award, American Physiological Society Comparative Section, 2004.
    • Fellow, Cardiovascular Section, American Heart Association, 2003-2005.
    • The Scholander Award Honorable Mention, from the American Physiological Society, 2001.
    • Schmitt Fellow, University of Notre Dame, 2002-2003.
    • Fellow, National Science Foundation, University of Notre Dame, 1998-2002.
    • Best student presentation, Cardiovascular Section, International Congress on the Biology of Fishes. Aberdeen Scotland, UK. 2000.
    • Audubon Society Environmental Achievement Award, South Bend Audubon Society, 1998.
    • Excellence Award, Biological Sciences, Indiana University South Bend, 1998.