William O. Russell, Jr.

William Ogburn Russell, Jr.


Born: 1910, San Jose, California

Died: 2 August 1997, Houston, Texas

Academic Degrees

  • AB: Stanford University, Stanford, California 1933
  • MD: Stanford University, Stanford, California 1937

Academic Positions

  • Instructor in Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine
  • 1948 - 1977 Professor and Chairman of Pathology, M.D. Anderson, Houston, Texas (First Chairman of Pathology there)
  • 1977-1987 Director of North Ridge Medical Center/Fort Lauderdale, Florida


  • The Mallory Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Selected Career Highlights

  • Published on a wide-variety of lesions including those of the CNS, heart, thyroid, cellular changes in human lungs resulting from the use of tobacco, the cytochemical and biochemical diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the ethology and control of "cancer eye" in cattle, dioxin carcinogenesis in soft tissue sarcomas, and special types of liposarcomas in humans.

  • 1957: Instrumental in adapting the cryostat technique to make cold chamber frozen sections. Under his direction and his associates, a new cryostat model was designed and constructed, and workshops and tutorial courses were established to instruct others in its use.

  • Developed the team that developed the technique for processing and sectioning whole organs, including the thyroid, lung, uterus, cervix, larynx and breast. Through use of this, the extent of disease within an organ, the mode of spread and its stage of development could be determined. One outgrowth of this work was in the field of thyroid carcinoma, in which whole organ studies indicated the high frequency of bilateral carcinoma of the thyroid and have served as a basis for the surgical management of these tumors.

  • Introduced the membrane filter technique in cytopathology.

  • Member of the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Task Force of the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging and End Results Reporting (with Drs. Enzinger and Hajdu).

  • Past President of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and Chairman of the Inter-Society Committee of Pathology Information.

  • Loved farming, duck hunting and trout fishing (from his early years on the Russell ranch near Sacramento, California), and with his delightful sense of humor was a counselor to many and a connoisseur of fine food and wine.

  • After his retirement in 1987, he continued to be a consultant to many organizations including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Joint Committee for Cancer Staging.


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