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Professor Russell Cox

Professor Russell Cox

Professor Russell Cox
BSc, PhD(Dunelm)

Visiting Professor

Office N322
Cantock's Close,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TS
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 9184


Professor Russell Cox's research is focussed on the biosynthesis of biologically active compounds by microorganisms. He is particularly interested in how living systems can orchestrate complex reactions to rapidly and efficiently produce structurally diverse and complex compounds from simple precursors. Techniques in use in his research include microbiology, molecular biology, enzymology, analytical chemistry, natural products chemistry and structure elucidation using NMR and mass spectrometry.

His teaching activities occur at all stages in the School of Chemistry from level I undergraduate lectures and tutorials through to postgraduate workshops and all between.

Synthesis of small molecules.

Chemistry and enzymology of proteins.

Genetics of fungal polyketide synthases.

Enzymology of polyketide synthases.

Design and synthesis of new antibiotics.

Synthetic Biology


Russell Cox was born in 1967 in Lyndhurst in the New Forest. He grew up in a small rural village near to Lymington on the South coast of the UK, where he learned to sail, shoot and fish.

He studied for a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at the University of Durham, and then spent three years studying the biosynthesis of the fungal metabolite tenellin with David O'Hagan, again at the University of Durham.

After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1992, he moved to the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, to study the enzymology of bacterial lysine biosynthesis with Professor John Vederas FRS.

In 1995 he moved to a post-doctoral fellowship at the John Innes Centre in Norwich and worked for 12 months with Professor Sir David Hopwood FRS on the cloning, expression and purification of the actinorhodin biosynthetic proteins.

He was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Bristol in 1996 where he has risen through the ranks to become Professor of Organic and Biological Chemistry.

He is married with three children and maintains interests in sailing, historic building maintenance and applied lumberjacking.


Professor Russell Cox was awarded the Faculty of Science Teaching and Learning Prize in 2008. He teaches at all levels in the School of Chemistry and currently delivers lectures at level IY (stereochemistry and synthesis) and level III (natural products chemistry).  He was closely allied to the development of the innovative DLM system used in the School of Chemistry and maintains an active interest in the development of practical teaching in the School.


  • biosynthesis
  • enzymology
  • molecular genetics
  • fungi
  • organic synthesis
  • microbial genetics



School of Chemistry

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