Brooke Russell

Brooke Russell

Assistant Professor

Center for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases
2121 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX   77030

Education and Training

Brooke received her B.S. in Microbiology from Louisiana State University in 2003. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2008 with an emphasis on host-pathogen interactions under the mentorship of Dr. Yi Xu. In 2009, she initiated efforts with Dr. Magnus Hook to commercialize bacterial collagens as a postdoctoral fellow and entrepreneur with ECM Technologies, LLC. In 2012 and currently her efforts expanded to harness bacterial-derived materials for novel medical device development.

Research Interests

Brooke has three postdoctoral research fellows in her lab working to “Solve the Collagen Puzzle”.

PROBLEM: Collagen is the most abundant mammalian protein and serves as the major structural building block of most tissues from bone and cartilage to skin and blood vessels. In addition, collagen regulates many developmental and tissue regeneration processes. Specific cues in collagen interact with cells or other molecules such as growth factors, cytokines or extracellular matrix proteins. Some cues are known and others are yet to be discovered. Because of these useful properties, collagen is a clinically used biomaterial. However, only animal-derived collagen is currently available, which severely limits the usefulness of the material.


SOLUTION: Our laboratories have discovered a bacterial-collagen that can be produced as a recombinant protein (animal-free) and engineered to contain specific collagen cues. The nature, number and distribution of these cues can be varied in the bacterial-collagen thereby making a de novo collagen, “Designer Collagen”. This enabling property will allow us to define new cues and greatly expand the usefulness of collagen molecules in medical applications. Our Designer Collagen long-term goal is to better understand how we can instruct cells to achieve complex processes such as tissue regeneration and based on this knowledge, develop medical devices with clear clinical need. To explore these opportunities, we have assembled a research team composed of biomedical scientists and bioengineers.

Recent Publications

Browning MB, Russell B, Rivera J, Höök M, Cosgriff-Hernandez EM. “Bioactive hydrogels with enhanced initial and sustained cell interactions” Biomacromolecules. 2013 Jul 8;14(7):2225-33. doi: 10.1021/bm400634j. Epub 2013 Jun 24. PMID: 23758437

Allon AA, Ng KW, Hammoud S, Russell BH, Jones CM, Rivera JJ, Schwartz J, Hook M, Maher SA. “Augmenting the articular cartilage-implant interface: Functionalizing with a collagen adhesion protein” J Biomed Mater Res A. 2012 Aug;100(8):2168-75. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34144. Epub 2012 May 21. PMID: 22615182.

Mary Beth Browning, D. Dempsey, V. Guiza, S. Becerra, Jose Rivera, Brooke Russell, Magnus Höök, Fred Clubb, Matt Miller, Theresa Fossum, Jeing Dong, Angela Bergeron, Mariah Hahn, Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez. “Multilayer vascular grafts based on collagen-mimetic proteins” Acta Biomaterialia. 2012 Mar;8(3):1010-21. PMID: 22142564

 Elizabeth Cosgriff-Hernandez, Mariah Hahn, Brooke Russell, Thomas Wilems, Dany Munoz-Pinto, Mary Beth Browning, Jose Rivera, Magnus Höök. “Bioactive Hydrogels Based on Designer Collagens” Acta Biomaterialia. 2010 Oct;6(10):3969-77. PMID: 20466083.

Seo N, Russell BH, Rivera JJ, Liang X, Xu X, Afshar-Kharghan V, Höök M. “An engineered alpha1 integrin-binding collagenous sequence” J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 1;285(40):31046-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.151357. Epub 2010 Jul 30. PMID: 20675378.

Xue Q, Jenkins SA, Gu C, Smeds E, Liu Q, Vasan R, Russell BH, Xu Y. “Bacillus anthracis spore entry into epithelial cells is an actin-dependent process requiring c-Src and PI3K” PLoS One. 2010 Jul 20;5(7):e11665. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011665. PMID: 20652027.

Russell BH, Liu Q, Jenkins SA, Tuvim MJ, Dickey BF, Xu Y. “In vivo demonstration and quantification of intracellular Bacillus anthracis in lung epithelial cells” Infect Immun. 2008 Sep;76(9):3975-83. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00282-08. Epub 2008 Jul 14. PMID: 18625737

Russell BH, Vasan R, Keene DR, Koehler TM, Xu Y. “Potential dissemination of Bacillus anthracis utilizing human lung epithelial cells” Cell Microbiol. 2008 Apr;10(4):945-57. Epub 2007 Dec 6. PMID: 18067609.

Russell BH, Vasan R, Keene DR, Xu Y. “Bacillus anthracis internalization by human fibroblasts and epithelial cells.” Cell Microbiol. 2007 May;9(5):1262-74. PMID: 17474904.