Coho Fry

Dr. Spencer Russell, MSc, DVM, PhD

Location: Building 473


  • Immunology
  • Pathobiology
  • Fish Welfare

Courses taught

  • FISH 223: Fisheries Management
  • FISH 241: Fish Health
  • AQUA 341: Finfish, shellfish and crustacean health

Dr. Spencer Russell is a Fish Health Veterinarian with a PhD in Veterinary immunology/pathobiology, and currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture at VIU. Spencer's career in aquaculture spans over 20 years involving several areas of fish health. Prior to his position at VIU, Spencer was a Research Fellow with Elanco Animal Health (Aquaculture; formerly operated as Novartis Animal Health) where he was responsible for designing and testing vaccines for finfish aquaculture. Before joining Elanco, Spencer worked for Pfizer Animal Health (Aquaculture) as a Principle Research Scientist and attending Veterinarian at Pfizer's aquatic research facility. During his time with Pfizer, Spencer spearheaded the autogenous vaccine production team, providing veterinary, technical and scientific support for aquaculture clients globally. Spencer also spent 10 years as a Veterinary pathologist and member of the Fish Pathology Laboratory at the Ontario Veterinary College; there, he completed his PhD and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and later was responsible for managing research and aiding in the development of diagnostic techniques to support aquatic disease surveillance in Canada.


Student Supervision

Joseph Nowlan. BSc, MSc. - Nowlan is a recent postgraduate student from UGuelph. Nowlan's MSc thesis was focused on quantifying Tenacibaculum species around netpen sites in British Columbia. In addition, Joseph has completed or taken part in several fish health projects in Russell's lab including salmonid gill health in relation to hydrozoan exposure, implementing a Tenacibaculum exposure model, and currently, investigating saltwater tolerance in white sturgeon. Nowlan will be responsible for ordering and installing hardware and software, Nowlan will also assist Britney in the genomic comparisons.

Scott Britney. BSc. - Graduate student at UGuelph and VIU alumni, Britney has been part of the CIFH for two years working to identify Tenacibaculum isolates and determine trends in antibiotic resistance (Britney et al. 2021 [ ]). Britney will be responsible for genomic comparisons between Tenacibaculum species.

Research Projects, Grants and Publications