Staff profile - Aaron Russell

Staff image

Prof Aaron Russell

Position: Associate Head Of School (Research)
role description
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Exercise & Nut. Sci.
Campus: J3.45, Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 925 17397 +61 3 925 17397
Fax: +61 3 924 46017 +61 3 924 46017


Biography summary

2014 - present Professor, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

2011-13 Associate Professor, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University

2011 Visiting Research Fellow, The Scripps Research Institute, 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 of 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

2014 -present Pflugers Archives: European Journal of Physiology
2011-present Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology

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 8 PhD students to completion

Knowledge areas

Regulation of skeletal muscle growth, wasting and regeneration with exercise and disease.

Molecular signaling in skeletal muscle with exercise, nutrition and disease.

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 muscle health; exercise, ageing and muscular dystrophies.

miRNA regulation of muscle adapation to exercise and disease.

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

PGC-1alpha 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 in humans using in vivo models of muscle wasting including motor neuron disease (MND), muscular dystrophy (DMD and sarcopenia. Acute and chronic exercise protocols are used as models to investigate the signalling proteins that 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 and lentiviral technology.


  • Research tools include quantitative PCR, Western blotting, EMSA, Luciferase reporter assays, protein degradation and synthesis assays.


  • Molecular targets of interest include PGC-1, STARS and several miRNA species.

Research page



Selected Publications in the last 5 years

Morrison-Nozik A, Anand P, Zhu H, Duan Q, Sabeh M, Prosdoscimo DA, Lemieux M,  Nordsborg NB, Russell AP, MacRae C, Gerber AN, Jain MK, Haldar SM. Glucocorticoids Elicit Ergogenic Effects and Ameliorate DMD via a Defined Pathway. PNAS, 2015 Dec 8;112(49):E6780-9.

Morrison, D, Hughes J, Della Gatta PA, Mason SA, Lamon S, Russell AP, Wadley GD. Vitamin C and E supplementation prevents some of the cellular adaptations to endurance-training in humans. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 2015 Oct 19;89:852-862.

Cho Y, Hazen B, Gandra P, Schenk S, Russell AP, Kralli N. Perm1 (PGC-1 and ERR-induced Regulator, Muscle 1) enhances mitochondrial biogenesis, oxidative capacity and fatigue resistance in adult skeletal muscle. FASEB J, Accepted 29th Sept, 2015

Güller I, McNaughton S, Crowley T, Kajimura S, Watt M, Russell AP. Comparative analysis of microRNA expression in mouse and human brown adipose tissue. BMC Genomics, 2015 Oct 19;16(1):820. doi: 10.1186/s12864-015-2045-8.

Selathurai A, Burch ML, Kowalski GK, Sepulveda P, Risis S, Lee-Young RS, Meikle PJ, Genders AJ, McGee SL, Watt MJ, Russell AP, Frank M, Jackowski S, Febbraio MA, Bruce CR. Elimination of the CDP-ethanolamine pathway in skeletal muscle has pronounced effects on lipid homeostasis and mitochondrial oxidative capacity without altering insulin sensitivity. Cell Metabolism. 2015 May 5;21(5):718-30.


Zacharewicz E, Della Gatta PA, Reynolds J, Garnham A, Crowley T, Russell AP, Lamon S. Identification of microRNAs linked with muscle protein synthesis and regeneration in young and old skeletal muscle. PLOS ONE. Dec 2; 9(12), 2014.


Brown, EL, Snow RJ, Wright CR, Cho Y, Wallace MA, Kralli A, Russell AP.  PGC-1α and PGC-1β increase CrT expression and creatine uptake in myotubes via ERRα. Biochim Biophys Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1843(12):2937-43, 2014.

Russell AP, Ghobrial L, Wright CR, Lamon L, Brown EL, Kon K, Skelton MR, Snow RJ. Creatine transporter (SLC6A8) knock out mice display an increased capacity for in vitro creatine biosynthesis in skeletal muscle. Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology, Aug 26; 5:314, 2014.

Wright CR, Brown EL, Della-Gatta PA, Ward AC, Lynch GS, Russell AP. G-CSF does not influence C2C12 myogenesis despite receptor expression in healthy and dystrophic skeletal muscle. Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology. 1; 5: 170, 2014

Lamon S, Zacharewicz E, Garnhan A, Stephens A, Russell AP. EPO-receptor is present in mouse C2C12 and human primary cells but EPO does not influence myogenesis. Physiological Reports. 27; 2 (3), 2014.

Stefanetti RJ, Rahbek SK, Lamon S, Farup J, Zacharewicz E, Wallace MA, Vendelbo MH, Russell AP, Vissing K. Influence of divergent exercise contraction mode and whey protein supplementation on atrogin-1, MuRF1 and FOXO1/3A in human skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiology, 116(11):1491-502, 2014.

Stefanetti  RJ, Zacharewicz E, Della Gatta P, Garnham A, Russell AP, Lamon S. Ageing has no effect on the regulation of the ubiquitin proteasome-related genes and proteins following resistance exercise. Frontiers in Striated Muscle Physiology”. 5:30, 2014

Dominguez E, Pawlak J, Weiwei L, Thomas J, Nomura DK, Partida D, Watt MJ,  O'Brien PE,  Russell AP, Cravatt BJ, Saez E. Integrated phenotypic and activity-based profiling links Ces3 to obesity and diabetes. Nature Chemical Biology.  10(2):113-21, 2014

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