Russell Cox was born in 1967 in Lyndhurst in the New Forest. He grew up in a small rural village near to Lymington on the South coast of the UK, where he learned to sail, shoot and fish.
He studied for a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry at the University of Durham, and then spent three years studying the biosynthesis of the fungal metabolite tenellin with David O'Hagan, again at the University of Durham.
After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1992, he moved to the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, to study the enzymology of bacterial lysine biosynthesis with Professor John Vederas FRS.
In 1995 he moved to a post-doctoral fellowship at the John Innes Centre in Norwich and worked for 12 months with Professor Sir David Hopwood FRS on the cloning, expression and purification of the actinorhodin biosynthetic proteins.
He was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Bristol in 1996 where he has risen through the ranks to become Professor of Organic and Biological Chemistry.
He is married with three children and maintains interests in sailing, historic building maintenance and applied lumberjacking.