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 Planetary Chemistry and Astrobiology (3225): People
Michael  Russell's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
818 354-4985
818 393-3037
Email Contact:
Curriculum Vitae:

Michael Russell
Group Supervisor

  • B.Sc. Honours, Geology with Chemistry, University of London (1963)
  • Ph.D. Mineral Deposit Geochemistry, University of Durham (1974)

Research Interests
  • The emergence of life and oxygenic photosynthesis in the context of hydrothermal systems on wet, rocky, sunlit planets

Professional Experience
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2006 - present)
    • Supervisor, Planetary Chemistry and Astrobiology Group (2013 - Present)
    • Research Scientist, Planetary Chemistry and Astrobiology Group (2011 - 2013)
    • Distinguished Visiting Scientist (2005 - 2011)
    • NASA Senior Research Fellow (2005 - 2010)
  • CNRS Professor, University of Grenoble, (2004-2005)
  • Dixon Research Professor, Glasgow University, Scotland (1989-2004)

Selected Awards
  • William Smith Medal, 2009, Geological Society of London
  • Nature 2009, feature in 459, 316-319 (Whitfield; Nascence Man)

Selected Publications
  1. Russell, M.J., Barge, L.M., Bhartia, R., Bocanegra, D., Bracher, P.J., Branscomb, E., Kidd, R., McGlynn, S.E., Meier, D.H., Nitschke, W., Shibuya, T., Vance, S., White, L., & Kanik, I. (2014) The drive to life on wet and icy worlds. Astrobiology 14, 308-343. Link
  2. Shibuya, T., Yoshizaki, M., Masaki, Y., Suzuki, K., Takai, K., & Russell, M. J. (2013). Reactions between basalt and CO2-rich seawater at 250 and 350° C, 500bars: Implications for the CO2 sequestration into the modern oceanic crust and the composition of hydrothermal vent fluid in the CO2-rich early ocean. Chemical Geology, 359, 1-9. Link
  3. Russell, M.J., Nitschke, W. & Branscomb, E. 2013, The inevitable journey to being. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 368: 20120254. Link.
  4. Nitschke, W. & Russell, M.J. (2013) Beating the acetyl coenzyme-A pathway to the origin of life. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 368: 20120258. Link.
  5. Nitschke, W., McGlynn, S.E., Milner-White, E.J., Russell, M.J., 2013, On the antiquity of metalloenzymes and their substrates in bioenergetics. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, Bioenergetics, Link.
  6. Branscomb, E. & Russell, M.J. 2013, Turnstiles and bifurcators: the disequilibrium converting engines that put metabolism on the road. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, Bioenergetics 1827, 62-78.
  7. Schoepp-Cothenet, B., van Lis, R., Atteia, A., Baymann, F., Capowiez, L., Ducluzeau, A-L., Duval, S., ten Brink, F., Russell, M.J. & Nitschke, W. 2013 On the universal core of bioenergetics. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, Bioenergetics, 1827, 79-93.
  8. Barge, L.M., Doloboff, I.J., White, L.M., Russell, M.J., Kanik, I. 2012, Characterization of Iron-Phosphate-Silicate Chemical Garden Structures. Langmuir, 28, 3714-3721.
  9. McGlynn, S.E., Kanik, I., Russell, M.J. 2012, Modification of simulated hydrothermal iron sulfide chimneys by RNA and peptides. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A Phys. Sci. 370, 3007-3022.
  10. Schoepp-Cothenet, B., van Lis, R., Philippot, P., Magalon. A., Russell, M.J. and Nitschke, W. (2012). The ineluctable requirement for the trans-iron elements molybdenum and/or tungsten in the origin of life. Nature Scientific Reports, 2 :263 DOI :10.1038.
  11. Nitschke, W., Russell, M.J. 2011, Redox bifurcations; how they work and what they mean to extant life and (potentially) to its inorganic roots. BioEssays, 34, 106-109.
  12. Milner-White, E.J., Russell, M.J. 2011, A peptide era heralding the emergence of life. Genes 2, 671-688.
  13. Mielke, R.E., Robinson, K.J., White, L.M., McGlynn, S.E., McEachern, K., Bhartia, R., Kanik, I., Russell, M.J. 2011, Iron-sulfide-bearing chimneys as potential catalytic energy traps at life's emergence. Astrobiology, 11, 933-950.
  14. Russell, M.J. (editor) 2011, Origins, Abiogenesis and the search for Life. Cosmology Science Publishers, Cambridge, MA, pp. 487.
  15. Mielke, R.E., Russell, M.J., Wilson, P.R., McGlynn, S., Coleman, M., Kidd, R. & Kanik, I. 2010, Design, Fabrication and Test of a Hydrothermal Reactor for Origin‐Of‐Life Experiments, Astrobiology, 10, 799-810.
  16. Russell, M.J., Hall, A.J. and Martin, W. 2010, Serpentinization and its contribution to the energy for the emergence of life. Geobiology, 8, 355-371.
  17. Nitschke, W. and Russell, M.J. (2010). Just Like the Universe the Emergence of Life had High Enthalpy and Low Entropy Beginnings. Journal of Cosmology, 10, 3200-3216.
  18. Yung, Y.L., Russell M.J., Parkinson, C.D. 2010, The search for life on Mars. Journal of Cosmology, 5, 1121-1130.
  19. Russell, M.J., Kanik, I. 2010, Why Does Life Start, What Does It Do, Where Will It Be, And How Might We Find It? Journal of Cosmology, 5, 1008-1039.
  20. Russell, M.J. and Hall, A.J. 2009, A hydrothermal source of energy and materials at the origin of life. In "Chemical Evolution II: From Origins of Life to Modern Society". American Chemical Society, pp. 45-62.
  21. Nitschke, W. and Russell, M.J. 2009, Hydrothermal focusing of chemical and chemiosmotic energy, supported by delivery of catalytic Fe, Ni, Mo/W, Co, S and Se, forced life to emerge. Journal Molecular Evolution 69, 481-496.
  22. Ducluzeau, A-L, van Lis R., Duval S., Schoepp-Cothenet B., Russell, M.J., Nitschke W. 2009, Was nitric oxide the first strongly oxidizing terminal electron sink. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 34, 9-15.
  23. Martin, W., Baross, J., Kelley, D., Russell M.J. 2008, Hydrothermal vents and the origin of life. Nature Reviews, Microbiology 6, 806-814.
  24. Russell, M.J. 2008, On the emergence and early evolution of life. In Life strategies of microorganisms in the environment and in host organisms. Nova Acta Leopoldina, 96, 45-52.
  25. Russell, M.J., Allen, J.F., Milner-White, E.J. 2008, Inorganic complexes enabled the onset of life and oxygenic photosynthesis. In Energy from the Sun: 14th International Congress on Photosynthesis, J.F. Allen, E. Gantt, J.H. Golbeck, B. Osmond (editors). Springer. 1193-1198.
  26. Milner-White, E.J., Russell, M.J. 2008, Predicting peptide and protein conformations in early evolution. Biology Direct 3, 3: doi:10.1186/1745-6150-3-3.

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