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Women in Science

Angela studied chemistry at Oxford, followed by a PhD in medicinal chemistry. She was awarded a Research Council UK fellowship which involved five years of research with a university lectureship at the end. She is has set up two spin off companies; MuOx and OxStem.

Angela Russell


at the time of the interview - 2017

Angela is an Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, in the Department of Pharmacology. She has two children.


at the time of the interview -  2017

Angela’s interest in chemistry goes back to her childhood and the encouragement she received from her parents who were both trained scientists. Her father, in particular, encouraged her to do something she loved, that is trying to make a difference, and is at the cutting edge of science.

After the first year of a bio-chemistry degree at Oxford, Angela changed to chemistry which she found was very challenging in terms of the gaps she had in her knowledge. She persevered because knew she knew she wanted to use chemistry to understand biological systems and she needed a firm understanding of chemistry.

Anybody who’s acted as a mentor to me has always made me feel that there’s nothing I can’t achieve on the basis of being a woman and I think that’s really important, because you’ve got to believe that.

Coming from a state school background Angela was initially overwhelmed by the university but she found that students were nurtured and encouraged to always questions and never take things at face value.       

Angela did a PhD in medicinal chemistry which enabled her to start applying chemistry towards medicinally relevant problems. She has stayed at Oxford for her whole career and was awarded a Research Council UK Fellowship which led to a tenured position after 10 years.

Her research focuses developing regenerative medicines; how we can design new medicines that will enable the body to repair itself in the event of disease or injury. The translational aspect of Angela’s work is very important to her and she has set up two spin off companies; MuOx and OxStem to make her research relevant and useful to industry.

Mentors or role models have encouraged Angela to feel there is nothing she can’t achieve on the basis of being a woman. She has had two career breaks, the second shared with her partner, which have meant a dip in publications. Angela thinks there is change in gender equality, which shouldn’t be forced, and she strongly believes that there should be sufficient academic freedom for researchers to pursue what motivates them because that will generate the best research.