Peter J. Russell received his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Sussex, U.K., in 1968 and his Ph.D. in Genetics from Cornell University in 1972. He then joined the Biology faculty of Reed College in 1972 where he is currently Professor of Biology. Russell teaches an upper-division genetics and molecular biology lecture/laboratory course, the genetics section of the introductory biology course, an advanced seminar course in molecular virology, and advises senior thesis research students. He is also the author of a number of successful biology and genetics textbooks, including iGenetics: A Molecular Approach.
He is currently studying the molecular genetics of gene expression of a plant pathogenic RNA virus, using the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as the model host. The research goals are to define the genes of the host that encode products required for the expression of a specific gene involved in aphid transmission of the virus. His earlier research involved studies of ribosome biosynthesis and the organization of and regulation of the number of ribosomal RNA genes in Neurospora.