Thomas Russo

Thomas A. Russo

Thomas A. Russo MD

UBMD Internal Medicine


Infectious Disease; Microbial Pathogenesis

Hospital-based provider only

Professional Summary:

I am an expert in infectious diseases, and I care for hospitalized patients at the Buffalo VA Medical Center (Buffalo VAMC).

I have an active, nationally funded translational research program. My research focuses on Gram-negative bacilli (GNB), including Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumannii and a new hypervirulent variant of Klebsiella pneumoniae.

These GNB cause infection in nearly every non-intestinal site in the body. The hypervirulent variant of K. pneumoniae is both fascinating and worrisome. Unlike its predecessors, it is capable of causing infection in young, healthy hosts and spreading nearly anywhere in the body from the initial infected site, including the eyes and brain. GNB-caused infections result in the loss of billions of health care dollars, millions of work days and hundreds of thousands of lives each year.

GNB are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, including strains that have become resistant to all available antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are virtually no new antimicrobial agents active against highly resistant GNB in the pharmaceutical “pipeline.” To address this formidable clinical challenge, my collaborators and I have increased our understanding of the bacterial factors that are critical for these GNB to cause infection. We use this information to develop vaccines that will prevent infection and antibodies that can be used to treat infection. My UB collaborators include Dr. Campagnari (microbiology) and Dr. Gulick (structural biology). My research also involves identifying potential bacterial drug targets; this information will be used to develop new classes of antibiotics.

I intermittently have students in my lab, and I participate in a grant designed to encourage medical students to become physician-scientists. I welcome interested students to contact me about conducting research with me.

The Buffalo VAMC is the site of my clinical teaching. I teach first- and second-year medical students in lecture settings and small group sessions, including courses in lung respiration, musculoskeletal, renal and microbiology-immunology. Residents attend my grand rounds; I also teach fellows in all aspects of their training and mentor those who perform their research projects in my lab.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic I have served as a resource to educate and inform healthcare providers, the public, and businesses on how to best manage this evolving crisis as well as other topical infectious diseases issues.


Infectious Disease, Microbial Pathogenesis

Patients Treated:

Adults, Seniors/Elderly

Physician Gender:


Hospital Locations (for inpatients only):

  • VA Western New York Healthcare System

Board Certifications:

  • Board Certification, National Board of Medical Examiners

Education and Training:

  • Certificate, Management, University at Buffalo School of Management (2015)
  • Fellowship, Infectious Disease, Tufts-New England Medical Center (1988)
  • Medicine, Harvard-New England Deaconess Hospital (1985)
  • , McGill University (1982)

Awards and Honors:

  • Excellence in Health care award (2024)
  • Fellow-American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2024)
  • Top Doctors (2024)
  • George F. Koepf Award (2023)
  • Inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (2023)
  • Top Doctors (2023)
  • Top Doctors (2022)
  • The Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal (2021)
  • SUNY Distinguished Professor (2021)
  • Dean's Award-Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2020)
  • Veterans Administration Biomedical Laboratory R&D Senior Clinical Scientist Award (2019)
  • Stockton Kimball Award (2017)
  • University at Buffalo Exceptional Scholar Sustained Achievement Award (2012)
  • Visionary Inventor: UB technology licensed to Zeptometrix Corp. (2009)
  • Top 100 Principal Investigators at the University at Buffalo (2005)
  • SUNY Inventor award (for U.S. patent # patent 6,410,703) (2003)
  • Top 100 Federal Grantees at the University at Buffalo (2002)
  • F. Carter Pannill Award (1997)
  • IDSA-Stuart Pharmaceutical Fellowship in Infectious Diseases (1987)
  • Hinton Book Award-Residency-Harvard-NE Deaconess Hospital (1985)
  • James McGill Award-McGill University (1981)
  • James McGill Award-McGill University (1980)
  • Faculty Scholar-McGill University (1980)
  • University Scholar-McGill University (1979)

Innovations and Patents:

  • Identification of a vaccine candidate from an extraintestinal isolate of E

Research Profile:

This UBMD physician is also a member of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, teaching the next generation of doctors and researching to advance care in WNY and beyond. Learn more about this physician's research and teaching activities, as well as view credentials, publications, professional involvement and more below.

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