Russell is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He has worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
He is an analytical chemist with research interests in applying analytical tools to gain understanding of environmental systems. His research has focused on the interaction of chemistry (nutrients) with biology in controlling primary productivity. This involves a range of studies from microbial production of biogenic gases; phytoplankton- nutrient cycles and even the influence of ecological vectors (e.g. seabirds) on the chemical composition (and productivity) of the surface ocean.
The main tools used in this work are light isotopes using many different preparative techniques including bulk analysis, pyrolysis and compound-specific analysis.