Staff profile

Prof Aaron Russell

Position: Associate Head Of School (Research)
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Exercise & Nut. Sci.
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 92517397 +61 3 92517397


Biography summary

2011-present Associate Professor, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

2011 Visist Research fellow, The Scripps Research inastitute, San Diego, USA

2008-2011 NHMRC Research Fellow, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

2006-2008 Senior Lecturer, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

2002-2006 Head Molecular Physiology, Clinique Romande de readaption, Sion Switzerland

2000-2002 Research Fellow, Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Geneva, Switzerland


  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement), Deakin University, 1995
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, 2001
  • Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2008


Australia Physiological Society 

Australian Society for Medical Research 

Swiss Australian Academic Network

Professional activities

Editorial roles

2012-present The International Scholarly Research Network –Physiology
2011-present Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology
2011-present World Journal of Translational Medicine

Grant Reviewer

National Research Agency (France)

AFM (France)

Australian Research Council

Health Research Board, (Ireland)

Diabetes Australia Research Trust

NHMRC Project Grants

The Italian Telethon Grant (Italy)

Wellcome Trust (UK)


Teaching Interests


HSE303 Exercise Metabolism
HBS400 – Honours pratical training

Supervised 6 Honours students to completion (all recieving H1 grades with a Scholarship)

Post Graduate

Supervised 5 PhD students to completion

Conferences and seminars

(Invited presentation - past 5 years)

2013 Australian Physiological Society Conference (AuPS), Geelong; PGC-1α  and ERRα control of muscle growth.
2013 Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society, Melbourne; microRNA control of brown adipose tissue.
2012 AussieMit - Australian Mitochondria Conference, Melbourne; microRNA¬???23a inhibits PGC-¬1α translation: a new regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis with exercise and disease.
2012 Australian Physiological Society Conference (AuPS), Sydney; Disruption of skeletal muscle mitochondrial network genes and miRNAs in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
2010  European Muscle Conference, Padova, Italy; PGC-1α/β increase protein synthesis in C2C12 myotubes.
2012 The Gage Muscle Conference, Canberra; STARS as a potential mediator of skeletal muscle growth, regeneration and function.
2010 The Gage- Curtain Muscle Conference, Canberra Australia. PGC-1α regulates protein synthesis and growth related microRNAs: a potential target for combating muscle wasting.
2008 Australian Physiological Society Conference (AuPS), Melbourne. Molecular mechanisms regulating muscle mass.
2008 3rd Australian Association for Exercise and Sports Science (AAESS) Conference, Melbourne;  Molecular Modelling of Muscle Mass.

Seminar Presentations
2013 Macquarie University, Australia School of Advanced Medicine, Sydney; Identifying targets to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
2012  Nestle Research Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland. From cell biology to human physiology: a multidisciplinary approach to maintain health throughout the life span.
2011  Brock University, St Catherines, Canada; Novel roles and regulators of PGC-1α: implications for skeletal muscle health.
2011  The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, USA; Identifying miRNAs involved in the differentiation of skeletal muscle-derived CD34+ cells into brown adipocytes.
2010 Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium Muscle Maintenance Summit. Molecular factors controlling skeletal muscle wasting, growth and regeneration.
2009 Monash University, Department of Physiology Seminar Series; Regulation of skeletal muscle mass: influence of PGC-1α.


Awards and prizes

2009 Deakin University Award for Research Excellence

2008 - NHMRC Biomedical Career Development Award. Molecular
targets involved in human muscle atrophy and hypertrophy.

2003 - Best oral presentation.3rd Swiss Interfaculty Conference of Sport and Health, November 2003, Lausanne, Switzerland. Endurance training in humans leads to fibre type-specific increases in skeletal muscle αlevels of PGC-1α and PPAR.


Research projects

Role and regulation of STARS signaling in skeletal uscle health; exercise, ageing and muscular dystrophies.

miRNA regulation of muscle adapation to exercise and disease.

The role of miRNAs in age-related mucsle wasting (sarcopenia).

PGC-1alph and beta as regulators of muscle growth and repair.

Research interests

My research group is focused on determining the molecular factors that control skeletal muscle wasting, growth and regeneration. Investigations are performed humans using in vivo models of muscle wasting including motor neuron disease, DMD and sarcopenia. Acute and chronic exercise protocols are used as models to investigate the signalling proteins which regulate skeletal muscle growth and regeneration.


  • In vitro studies are also performed using human primary muscle cells as well as C2C12 and L6 muscle cell lines.
  • In vivo rodent models are used to investigate the role of specific molecular targets using AAV technology.
  • Research tools include quantitative PCR, Western blotting, EMSA, Luciferase reporter assays, protein degradation and synthesis assays, glucose uptake assays, adenoviral.
  • Infections and ChIP, in vivo protein synthesis (human muscle).
  • Molecular targets of interest include PGC-1, STARS and several miRNA species.

Research page

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