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PROF Fiona Russell


  • Respiratory infections, international child health, vaccine preventable diseases, vaccine impact evaluations



  • I am a paediatrician with qualifications in public health and epidemiology. In particular, I am interested in vaccination and completed my PhD evaluating alternative pneumococcal vaccination schedules in infants in Fiji funded by NIH and NHMRC, for which I was awarded both the Chancellor and Dean's Prize for PhD Excellence by The University of Melbourne. The findings informed the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) schedules in the latest WHO PCV position paper. I was awarded the Young Investigator Award, Royal Australasian College of Physicians (2001), the Early in Career Researcher, Public Health Association of Australia (2008), and Cottrell Fellowship, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 2011. I held a NHMRC Early Career Fellowship for which I was based in Vietnam for the overseas component, and then a University of Melbourne Research Fellowship. I undertook a global review on the age distribution of pneumococcal disease which was used to update the latest WHO PCV position paper. I have undertaken consultancies for WHO, UNICEF, and Australian Aid on the disease burden of vaccine preventable diseases in the Asia-Pacific region, provided technical advice of new vaccine introduction, and has written national child health policies to accelerate MDG 4/5 progress in Africa. I was based in Hanoi for 4 years, and prior to that I lived in Fiji for over 6 years. More recently, I am developing research projects to improve neonatal health in the region.    


Member of

  • NHMRC Post-doctoral Reference Group. member 2012 -
  • NHMRC Research Translational Faculty. member 2012 -
  • Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA). member 2000 -
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians 2000 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • My current projects include: 1. New Vaccine Evaluation Project, Fiji: This project, funded by Australian Aid, and co-led by myself and Prof Kim Mulholland in collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Health. We undertook a PCV impact evaluation of pneumococcal carriage and disease, and transferred technology from MCRI to the Fiji Ministry of Health to support meningitis surveillance. We measured the impact of rotavirus vaccine on diarrhoea in Fiji; and evaluated reduced dose HPV schedules, and are establishing surveillance for HPV infection. 2. Evaluation of the impact of national pneumococcal conjugate vaccine introduction in Lao PDR: This project, funded by the GAVI Alliance, and I lead this project in collaboration with WHO and the Laos Ministry of Health. In Lao PDR we are evaluating the impact of PCV on pneumonia and pneumococcal carriage. The study's design was presented at the WHO Expert consultation on PCV Impact Evaluation meeting, Geneva, October, 2013. 3. Using pneumococcal carriage surveillance to determine herd immunity: I lead this Bill & Melinda Gates funded project in Laos, PNG, and Mongolia to determine what PCV coverage is required for herd immunity. 4. Does the frequency and intensity of social contact and ethnicity effect pneumococcal carriage rates in Fiji: I lead this Bill & Melinda Gates Funded project. 5. NHMRC Pneumococcal Vaccinology Centre for Research Excellence: I am CIE 6. In Ethiopia, I am evaluating a screening tool to identify neonates at high risk of mortality. This is part-funded by the International Pediatric Association Foundation.   


Education and training

  • Grad Dip (Clin Epi), University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2011
  • FRACP, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow 2000
  • MPHTM, James Cook University of North Queensland 2000
  • DipPaed, University of New South Wales 1995
  • BM BS, Flinders University of South Australia 1991

Awards and honors

  • Shortlisted for L'Oreal Australia & New Zealand Women in Science Award, 2016
  • The Dean's Prize for Excellence in a PhD thesis, 2012
  • The Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in a PhD thesis, 2012
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 2010
  • Public Health Association of Australia, 2009
  • National Health and Medical Research Council Scholarship, 2007
  • Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Victoria, 2002
  • Victorian Branch of Public Health Association of Australia, 2000., 2000
  • Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, 2000



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Areas of interest include international child health and vaccine preventable diseases. Previous experience in research and epidemiology desirable.