Russette obtained both her Masters and PhD degrees from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln where she studied classical genetics, protein biochemistry and cellular growth control mechanisms. After completing her post-doctoral training at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, she began working as a research scientist at one of the first gene therapy companies in the world, Genetic Therapy, Inc., which was acquired by Novartis in 1995. During her tenure at Genetic Therapy, Inc. Russette took on several roles, including Head of Preclinical Safety, Head of Research & Development and Chief Operating Officer. After closing Genetic Therapy, Inc., Russette continued her professional career at Novartis as a project manager and Head of Development Project Management for the Novartis Vaccines Division. More recently, Russette has had the opportunity to develop interactive science education programs, first as the Head of the Office of Education at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and currently as the Director of the Novartis Community Exploration & Learning Lab (CELL), which is dedicated to inspiring local middle and high school students in biomedical science.