Shull Russell, Senior Staff Scientist Emeritus at The Jackson
Laboratory, died May 28, 2001, at her home on Echo Lake. She was
born May 1, 1913, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the eldest child of A.
Franklin Shull and Margaret Jeffrey Buckley. She attended Ann
Arbor public schools and the University High School. In 1933,
she received her BS from the University of Michigan, graduating
first in her class. She received her Masters degree from
Columbia in 1934, and took her PhD in genetics at the University
of Chicago in 1937, where she was a student of Sewall Wright.
Dr. Russell married fellow University of Chicago doctoral
student William L. Russell in 1937. The couple moved to Mount
Desert Island that same year to work at The Jackson Laboratory.
They had four children together before divorcing in 1947.
In a career spanning five decades, Dr. Russell published over
135 scientific papers on various aspects of genetics, including
pioneering work on pigmentation, blood-forming cells, and germ
cells. Dr. Russell repeatedly demonstrated the usefulness of
mouse models for the study and development of therapies for
heritable human diseases. The first model for muscular dystrophy
was discovered in her mouse colony. Successful marrow
transplantations she and her colleagues performed in the 1960ís
preceded the development of similar treatment protocols for
humans. The genetics of aging was fostered by her longevity
studies in genetically different mice.
Following the destruction of The Jackson Laboratory in the
fire of 1947, she led the effort to recover the Labís
genetically purebred mouse strains from other institutions,
worldwide, in order to rebuild the mouse stocks. In 1991, The
Jackson Laboratory named its new foundation stock building the
Russell-Dickie Building in honor of Dr. Russell and her
colleague, Dr. Margaret Dickie.
Dr. Russell was a member of the National Academy of Sciences,
the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences, the Genetics Society of America, Phi Beta Kappa,
the Council of the National Institute on Aging, and the Union of
Concerned Scientists. Dr. Russell was also a Guggenheim Fellow.
In 1976, she chaired a Genetics Society committee which drafted
an influential position paper on heredity, race and IQ, and also
served as president of the Society.
Dr. Russell was a Founding Trustee of the College of the
Atlantic, and was made a Life Trustee in 1995. She was a Trustee
of the University of Maine from 1975 to 1983, and the recipient
of several honorary degrees, including from Colby and Bowdoin
Colleges. She was inducted into the Maine Womenís Hall of Fame
in 1991. As a member of the Bar Harbor Planning Board in the
1970ís, she was instrumental in protecting Northeast Creek and
Fresh Meadow. Dr. Russell was a longtime member of AAUW, active
at the state and local level. She served on the board of the
Somes Meynell Wildlife Refuge for several years.
Dr. Russell also touched the lives of the many students,
graduate and undergraduate, who worked with her at The Jackson
Laboratory. She taught on three different occasions at COA.
After retiring from the Lab, she traveled twice to Liberia, West
Africa, where she taught embryology and genetics at Cuttington
College. She was a communicant of St. Andrew and St. John
Episcopal Church in Southwest Harbor.
Dr. Russell was predeceased by her oldest son, Richard L.
Russell, in 1994, and by her brother, Franklin B. Shull, in
1996. She is survived by two sons, John Shull Russell of Howell,
Michigan, and James J. Russell of Northeast Harbor; a daughter,
Ellen M. Gilmore of Mount Desert, and five grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at The Jackson Laboratory in
Bar Harbor at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2001. A Requiem Mass
will be celebrated at St. John Episcopal Church in Southwest
Harbor at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 3, 2001.
Gifts in lieu of flowers may be made to The Jackson
Laboratoryís Elizabeth S. Russell Scholarship Fund, St. Andrew
and St. John Church, or the Mount Desert Nursing Association.