Mr Stephen Russell

  • Senior Laboratory Manager
  • Science Facilities department
  • Molecular Biology Laboratories
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Steve Russell left school in 1976 and began his career in science as a laboratory junior in the toxicology department of a pharmaceutical company researching novel blood products until 1983. Steve joined the Museum’s Botany department in 1983 as an Assistant Scientific Officer, and is now the Senior Laboratory Manager of the Museum Molecular Biology labs.

Steve is a named author on over 40 peer reviewed papers where he has applied his extensive knowledge of laboratory method to study plants across the plant kingdom. His particular interest is the development of laboratory methods and their application to studies of plants.

As Senior Laboratory Manager (SLM) for the Molecular Biology Laboratories Steve has financial and managerial responsibility for the safe and effective running of all Molecular Laboratories in the Natural History Museum. By so doing his aim is to provide, develop and manage state of the art molecular facilities for molecular research at the NHM in line with the objectives of molecular research funded by internal or external sources.


Education and Employment history

1983          HNC Applied Biology, Luton TEC college
1981          ONC Applied Biology, Luton TEC college


2009 - Current      Senior Laboratory Manager (Band3), Molecular Biology Labs Zoology                                   

2003 - 2009          Laboratory Manager (Merit promotion Band 3), Botany
Responsible for all aspects of managing and organisation of the Botany Departments laboratories including resource , purchasing and management of research budgets. Departmental Health and Safety co-ordinator. Teaching staff, students and visitors in a range of laboratory methods. Representative for Entomology and Botany on all aspects of DC2 lab planning and design.  Member of senior staff administration team. Participant in a range of department lab based projects primarily concerned with data production. Strong personal interest in developing methods and techniques both to increase data output and enable molecular extraction from the Departments collections regardless of age and state of preservation

1996 - 2003          Laboratory Manager (Band 4), Botany Department
Responsibility for all the Botany labs including: ordering and managing research budgets. Refurbishment and organisation of staff and lab space. Active research role. Increased involvement in a range of staff projects. Teaching staff in range of laboratory method. Sys- Resource/ student responsibilities.
1987 - 1996          Higher Scientific Officer, Botany Department  
Assumed responsibility for all Botany Dept labs including ordering , H&S dept co-ordinator. 
Responsible as a primary data producer for projects in the Botany labs.

1984 - 1987          Scientific Officer, Botany Department
Dept H&S representative, continuation of Lab support to senior staff. Cytogenetic methods, DNA methods, sequencing.

1983 - 1984          Assistant Scientific Officer, Botany Department
Lab support to senior staff. Employing electrophoresis method, Histochemical staining,               
Pollen growth studies. Diatom sample preparation. Selected and strewn slide preparation for Collections. SEM studies                                          

1981 - 1983          Laboratory Technician. Weddel Pharmaceuticals       
Novel drug development screening, In Vitro drug potency assays.

1979 - 1981          Junior Laboratory Technician.  Weddel Pharmaceuticals
Training in basic lab duties, assisting senior staff with experimental assays.


My role as Senior Laboratory Manager (SLM) is to have financial and managerial responsibility for the safe and effective running of all Molecular Laboratories in the Natural History Museum. The aim is to provide and manage state of the art labs to facilitate molecular research in line with Museum objectives and those of the scientists and research funded by internal or external sources. As SLM I head up a team of skilled technical staff and experienced lab managers and have overall responsibility of delegating tasks and overseeing activity to achieve the following goals:

  • The implementation of health and safety procedures to ensure good laboratory practise within the molecular laboratories. Have overall responsibility for updating and reviewing schemes of work and associated risk assessments for all procedures conducted within the molecular laboratories.
  • Control budgets for generic consumables and oversee purchase of all basic essential consumables.  Implement an efficient ordering system common to the molecular laboratories and a process for holding and distributing consumables. Control budget for capital servicing, parts and maintenance and small equipment, and plan accordingly.  Work with the Museum Science Administrators to track all expenditure and reconcile budgets.
  • Track the expenditure of molecular research consumable allocations to individual research scientists.
  • Liaise with research scientists and science administrators with regard to the required budgets of any molecular component detailed within internal or external research grant applications prior to grant application.
  • Coordinate the servicing, repair and replacement of equipment in the molecular laboratories. This includes the long term planning and procurement of capital equipment, by taking responsibility for a single molecular biology bid annually for capital equipment. Plus manage effective replacement programme for minor equipment within the annual budget allocation.
  • Liaise with Head of Research and Consulting  on the annual budget allocations for scientists conducting molecular biology research during December of each year (for implementation the following April).
  • Provide and delegate expert technical support, ensuring assistance is provided for training, project troubleshooting, pilot projects, feasibility studies and contract work. Encourage training and involvement of research staff, who do not normally use molecular techniques.
  • Liaise with collections management teams and provide an interface between molecular biology and collections especially with regard to molecular use of collections.
  • Provide direct (Reporting Officer) line management for laboratory manager(s) and the Head of the DNA Sequencing Facility, with countersigning responsibility for other molecular laboratory support staff. Oversee adequate training and career development of staff providing molecular support. Keep abreast of latest developments in molecular biology relevant to NHM research.
  • Lead the Molecular Biology Laboratory Team and represent the Molecular Biology Laboratories on internal and external committees as appropriate.


Grundmann, M., Rumsey, F.J., Ansell, S.W., Russell, S.J., Darwin, S.C., Vogel, J.C., Spencer, M., Squirrell, J., Hollingsworth, P.M., Ortiz, S., Schneider, H. (2010). Phylogeny and taxonomy of the bluebell genus Hyacinthoides, Asparaganaceae (Hyacinthaceae). Taxon. 59 (1). 68-82.

Hunt, H.V., Ansell, S.W., Russell, S.J., Schneider, H., vogel, J.C. (2010). Genetic diversity and phylogeography in two diploid ferns, Asplenium fontanum subsp. Fontanum and A. Ptrarchae subsp. Bivalens, in the western  Meditteranean. Molecular Ecology. 18 (23). 4940-4954.

Strickland-Constable, R., Schneider, H., Ansell, S.W., Russell, S.J., Knapp, S. (2010). Species identity in the Solanum bahamense species group (Solanaceae, Solanum subgenus Leptostemonum). Taxon. 59(1). 209-226.

Ansell, S.W., Steoien, H.K., Grundmann, M., Schneider, H., Hemp, A., Bauer, N., Russell, S.J., Vogel, J.C. (2010). Population structure and historical biogeography of European Arabidopsis Lyrata. Heredity 1-11.

Olsson, S., Rumsey, F., Grundmann, M., Russell, S., Enroth, J., Quandt, D. (2009). The origin of the British and Macaronesian endemic Thamnobryum species (Neckeraceae). Journal of Bryology. 31, 1-10.

Walker R.H., Brodie, J., Russell, S., & Irvine, L.M. (2009). The taxonomy and biodiversity of geniculate algae in the northeastern Atlantic: Corallina caespitose sp.nov. (Corallinoideae, Rhodophyta). Journal of Phycology 45, 287-297.

Brodie, J., Mortensen,A.M., Ramirez, M.E., Russell, S & Rinkel, B. (2008). Making the links: towards a global taxonomy for the red algal genus Porphyra (Bangiales, Rhodophyta).  Journal of Applied Phycology 20, 939-944.

Juliet Brodie, Linda Irvine and Stephen Russell. (2007) Typification of Ulva umbilicalis Linnaeus and Porphyra umbilicalis Kutzing (Rhodophyta, Bangiaceae) with a molecular and morphological redescription of the species. Taxon 57 (4), 1328-1331.

James, KE, Schneider, H, Ansell, SW, Evers, M, Robba, L, Pedersen, N, Newton, A, Russell, S.J, Vogel, JC, Kilian A. DArT for pan-genomic evolutionary studies of non-model organisms.

Ansell, SW, Grundmann, M, Russell, S.J, Schneider, H, Vogel, JC. (2008). Genetic discontinuity, breeding system change and population history of Arabis alpina L. in the Italian Peninsular and adjacent Alps. Molecular Ecology 17, 2245-2257.

Grundmann, M, Ansell, SW, Russell, S.J, Koch, MA, Vogel, JC (2008). Hot-spots of diversity in a clonal world – The Mediterranean moss Pleurochaete squarrosa in Central Europe.
Molecular Ecology 17, 825-838.

Ansell, SW, Schneider, H, Pedersen, N, Grundmann, M, Russell, S.J, Vogel, JC
Recombination diversifies duplicated chloroplast trnF pseudogenes in Arabidopsis lyrata (L.) (2007). Journal of Evolutionary biology. 20, 2400-2411.

Grundmann, M, Ansell, SW, Russell, S.J, Koch, MA, Vogel, JC (2007). Genetic structure of the widespread and common Mediterranean bryophyte Pleurochaete squarrosa (Brid.) Lindb. (Pottiaceae) – evidence from nuclear and plastidic DNA sequence variation and allozymes. Molecular Ecology, 16,709-722.

CARINE, M.A., ROBBA, L., LITTLE, R., RUSSELL, S.J. AND SANTOS GUERRA, A. (2007). Molecular and morphological evidence for hybridization between endemic Canary Island Convolvulus. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 154: 187-204.

Juliet Brodie., Russell S.J., and Robba.L. (2006) Assessing the use of the Mitochondrial COX1 marker for use in DNA barcoding of Red Algae (Rhodophyta). American Journal of Botany 93: 1101-1108.

Grundmann, M.; Schneider, H.; Russell, S.J.; Vogel, J.C.  2006  Phylogenetic relationships of the moss genus Pleurochaete Lindb. (Bryales: Pottiaceae) based on chloroplast and nuclear genomic markers.  Organisms Diversity and Evolution, 6, 33-45.

F.Rumsey, S.Russell and Elinor Wiltshire. (2006). A preliminary molecular investigation to characterize and identify Fulham oaks, their progeny and related cultivars in London. The London Naturalist  85: 39-49.

Pedersen, N, Russell, SJ, Newton, AE, Ansell, SW (2006). A novel molecular protocol for the rapid extraction of DNA from bryophytes and the utility of direct amplification of DNA from a single dwarf male.Bryologist,109,257-264.

Meredith M.Thomas, Nancy C.Garwood, William J.Baker, Sally A. Henderson, Stephen J.Russell, Donald R.Hodel, Richard M.Bateman. (2006). Molecular phylogeny of the palm genus Chamaedorea, based on the low-copy nuclear genes PRK and RPB2.  
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 398-415.

L. ROBBA, M. A. CARINE , S. J. RUSSELL & F. M. RAIMONDO (2005) The monophyly and evolution of Cynara L. (Asteraceae) sensu lato: evidence from the Internal Transcribed Spacer region of nrDNA and morphology. Plant Systematics and Evolution 253 (1-4): 53-64.

Rumsey,F.J, J.A.Barrett., M.Gibby.,S.Russell. & J.C.Vogel. (2005) Reproductive strategies and population structure in the endangered Pteridophyte Trichomanes speciosum. Fern Gazette 17: 205-215.

Schneider, H.; Ranker, T.A.; Russell, S.J.; Cranfill, R.; Geiger, J.M.O.; Aguraiuja, R.; Wood, K.R.; Grundmann, M.; Kloberdanz, K.; Vogel, J.C.  2005  Origin of the endemic fern genus Diellia coincides with the renewal of Hawaiian terrestrial life in the Miocene. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 272, 455-460.

C.Yesson, S.J.Russell, T.Parrish, J.W.Dalling, and N.C.Garwood. (2004) Phylogenetic Framework for Trema (Celtidaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 248: 85-109.

CARINE, M. A., FRANCISCO-ORTEGA, J., SANTOS-GUERRA, A. AND RUSSELL. S. J. (2004). Relationships of island and continental floras: molecular evidence for multiple colonisations into Macaronesia and subsequent back-colonisation of the continent in Convolvulus L. American Journal of Botany 91: 1070-1085.

Schneider, H, Russell,S.J, Cox,C., Bakker,F., Henderson,S., Rumsey.F.J., Barrett,J.A., Gibby,M. & Vogel, J.C. (2004). Chloroplast phylogeny of asplenioid ferns based on rbcl and trnl-F spacer sequences (polypodiidae,Aspleniaceae) and its implications for the biogeography of these ferns. Systematic Botany 29: 260-274.

Rumsey, F.J., Russell,S.J., Schafer,H.& Rasbach. (2004). Distribution, Ecology and cytology of Asplenium azoricum Lovis, Rasbach & Richstein (Aspleniaceae,Pteridophyta) and its hybrids. American Fern Journal 94: 113-125.

Polyploidy, phytogeography,of rock fern  A.ceterach. Molecular Ecology.  [In Press]

Evolution of spines and the taxonomic status of convolvulus  L. section Acanthocladii  Boiss.: preliminary results from the ITS 2 region of nrDNA.  Carine. M.A., Alexander. J.M. & Russell. S. J. (2003) Bocconea 16 (2): 703-710.

Phylogenetic and biosystematic relationships in  four highly disjunct polyploid complexes in the subgenera  Ceterach and Phyllitis in Asplenium (Aspleniaceae) with special emphasis on the evolution and historical biogeography of Macaronesian Ceterach . Pinter.I., Bakker.F., Cox.C., Gibby.M., Henderson. S., Morgan-Richards.M., Rumsey. F., Russell.S., Trewick.S., Schneider.S. & Vogel.J. (2002) Organisms, Diversity & Evolution. 2 issue 4: 299-311.

A Study of genetic variation in the threatened hepatic Petalophyllum ralfsii (Wils.) Nees. And Gottsche (Fossombroniaceae).  Frederich J. Rumsey., Johannes C. Vogel & Stephen J. Russell.  2001.  Conservation Genetics 2: pp271-277.

A Rapid PCR Based Method to Establish the Potential for Paternal Inheritance of Chloroplasts in Pelargonium. Celia M. James., John. A. Barrett., Stephen J. Russell and Mary Gibby. 2001. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter. 19: pp163-167.

Vogel, J.C., Rumsey,F.J., Russell, S.J., Holmes, J.S., Cox, C., Bujnoch, W., Stark, C., Barett, J.A & Gibby, M.  1999. Genetic structure, reproductive biology and ecology in isolated populations of  Asplenium csiki (Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyta).  Heredity 83: 604-612. (C)  [SPIS 94]

Rumsey, F.J., Vogel, J.C., Russell, S.J., Barrett, J.A. & Gibby, M. 1999.  Population structure and conservation biology of the endangered fern Trichomanes speciosum  Willd. (Hymenophyllaceae) at its northern distributional limit.  
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society  66: 333 - 344. (C) [SPIS 278]

Vogel,  J. Chr.,  Russell, S.J., Rumsey, F.J.,  Barrett, J.A. & Gibby, M.  1998.  On hybrid formation in the rock fern asplenium x alternifolium (Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyta).  Botanica Acta 111 (3): 241- 246. (C) [SPIS 94]  

Vogel, J.C., Russell, S.J., Rumsey, F.J.,  Barrett, J.A.. & Gibby, M. 1998. Evidence  for Maternal Transmission of Chloroplast DNA in the Genus Asplenium (Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyta).
Botanica Acta  111 (3):  247 -249. (C )  [SPIS 94]

Rumsey, F.J., Vogel, J.C., Russell, S.J., Barrett, J.A. & Gibby, M. 1998. Climate, colonisation and Celibacy: Population Structure in Central European Trichomanes speciosum (Pteridophyta).
Botanica Acta 111 (6): 481 - 489.  (C )  [SPIS 278]

Vogel, J.C., Rumsey, F.J., Schneller, J.J., Russell, S.J.,Holmes, J.S., Barrett, J.A. & Gibby.M.  1998.  The origin, status and distribution of Asplenium presolanense spec. nov. (Aspleniaceae, Pteridophyta).
Botanica Helvetica 108: 269 -288. (C) [SPIS 94]

Helgason. T., Russell. S.J., Monro.A.K. & Vogel. J.C. 1996. What is mahogany? The importance of a taxonomic framework for conservation. 1996. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 122: 47 - 59.

Genetic variation in the endangered filmy fern Trichomanes speciosum Willd.  Frederick J. Rumsey., Stephen J. Russell., Junxia Ji., John  A. Barrett  and Mary Gibby. 1996.
In: J.M.Camus, M.Gibby and R.J.Johns (eds). Pteridology in perspective: pp161-165, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Ji, J., Russell, S.J., Gibby. M., Vogel. J.C., Sheffield. E. & Peng. H.  1994.  A technique for the investigation of genetic variation in filamentous gametophytes of Trichomanes (Hymenophyllaceae). American Fern Journal  84(4): 126 - 130.

A molecular phylogeny of the British species of  Callithamnion based on restriction site data. 1994.   Bhoday.R., Russell.S.J., Price.J.H., Scholfield.C.I. & Gacesa.P. Biochemical Society Transactions. 22: p360

John. D.M.,  Bhoday. R., Russell. S.J., Johnson. L.R. & Gacesa. P.  1993. A molecular and morphological analysis of Microthamnion (Chlorophyta, Microthamniales). Archiv fur Protisten Kunde 143: 33-39.

Russell. S.J.  1993.  Mounting techniques for the preservation and analysis of diatoms. Bulletin of the Natural History Museum. (Botany). 23(1): 51-54.

A pilot-study for DNA research into genetic diversity in Mahogany Swietenia macrophylla King, Meliaceae. 1993. Blackmore.S and Russell. S.J.  In Rogers A.D.F., Sutton. D.A. & Stafford. P.J. eds. The Joint Services Scientific Expedition to the Upper Raspaculo River, Belize. Central America. Annex C:pp 1-8

RFLP's of enzymatically-amplified small sub-unit r-RNA coding regions from Gracilaria and Gracilariopsis (Rhodophyta). A rapid method for assessing species limits.  1992.  Scholfield. C.I., Gacesa.P., Price. J.H., Russell.S.J. & Bhoday.R.  Journal of Applied Phycology. 3: pp329-334.

Russell. S.J.  1989.  Polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic characterization of isoenzymes in the marine algal genus Callithamnion. Electrophoresis 10: 771 - 775.

Glass Slide preservation of  SEM mounted diatoms. Russell. S.J. 1989. Journal of the International Society for Diatom Research.  4: (2) pp 401-402.

Indications of species status from total protein signatures in Callithamnion  (Ceramiaceae).  1986.  Price. J.H.,  Pettitt. J.M. & Russell. S.J.  Hydrobiologia  151/152: pp 213-220.