our expertise

JAMES RUSSELL, M.D.

AB, FRCPC
Director & Co-Founder

James A Russell provides world recognized expertise in clinical trial design and testing.


Dr. Russell is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a Principal Investigator in the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation and a Member of the UBC and St. Paul’s Hospital (SPH) Divisions of Critical Care Medicine. He has held a number of important leadership positions, including the Chair of Medicine in St. Paul’s Hospital (1993-2003) and the Co-Founder and the first CEO of Sirius Genomics Inc., and Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Cyon Therapeutics.

In Sirius Genomics, he and his colleagues implemented the largest multi-centre, case-matched pharmacogenomics trial in Critical Care, with over 11,000 patients across Canada, the US, and Europe. The study helped validate pharmacogenomic biomarkers that identify septic patients who have an improved response to Xigris.

Dr. Russell has been actively leading a research program focused on vasopressin treatment of septic shock. He directed the VASST trial and found that vasopressin decreased mortality in patients who had less severe septic shock and discovered a novel interaction of vasopressin, corticosteroid treatment and mortality of septic shock. The VASST study marked a significant advancement in sepsis research and is cited in the 2008 and 2012 international sepsis treatment guidelines. The two major themes of his current research are (1) the genomics and pharmacogenomics of septic shock and (2) vasopressin in septic shock.

A graduate of Princeton University (Biology and Biochemistry), University of Toronto (Medicine and Medicine Residency) and University of California, San Francisco (Critical Care and Research Fellowships), Dr. Russell has  an active research program in pharmacogenomics and randomized controlled trials of septic shock and authored over 200 scientific publications and 40 chapters.  He is on the Editorial Board of four journals and a recognized world expert in sepsis clinical research demonstrated in a single-author, invited review in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 (Management of sepsis, issue 355, page 699-713).

Dr. Russell is a part-time consultant to several diagnostic and therapeutic companies in the sepsis field.