In Memory: Dr. Russell Main, Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences

Friday, December 1, 2023

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portrait of Dr. Main in his lab
Dr. Russell Main

The Purdue Veterinary Medicine community is deeply saddened by the passing of a caring and beloved faculty member in the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Dr. Russell Main, who died November 14 at his home in West Lafayette. He was 46.

A native of Fullerton, California, Dr. Main earned his bachelor’s degree in integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also met his wife, Joyce. He later earned his PhD at Harvard University with a thesis focusing on comparative skeletal mechanics, bone histomorphology, and growth among major tetrapod groups. After a postdoc at Cornell University, Dr. Main came to Purdue University where he joined the College of Veterinary Medicine faculty in 2011 as assistant professor of basic medical sciences, with a joint appointment in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. He was promoted to associate professor in 2017. Dr. Main served tirelessly as a dedicated scientist, teacher, and mentor. 

Even with his great dedication to his work as a faculty member, Dr. Main is remembered as one who most cherished his role as a devoted and loving father to his two children, and who showed his love for his wife and children every day in little ways and big gestures. It was common to find him at his children’s soccer games, attending their instrument lessons, and helping them with school projects. He had a knack for grilling delicious dinners and building an ice rink and treehouse in the backyard. Dr. Main also was an adventurer at heart, which meant that his family experienced many fun vacations and outings to national parks, art and science museums, and sporting events. He enjoyed following Angels baseball, Rams football, and Kings ice hockey, and sharing those pastimes with his friends and family. He also played recreational soccer and ice hockey into his 40s, but perhaps his most favorite adventures involved backpacking, canoeing, and swimming in the ocean.

Those blessed to know Dr. Main will remember him for his loving and kind heart, a ready smile, a strong spirit, and his commitment to always do his best. Dr. Main will be greatly missed.

A Celebration of Life service will be held tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2:00 p.m. at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 300 W. Fowler Ave. in West Lafayette.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Purdue Arboretum for a tree planting in honor of Dr. Main.  For information about memorial contributions toward his children’s college education, email

Click here to view a complete obituary.

Writer(s): Purdue Veterinary Medicine News |

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