Professor of Biology
Dr. Bell's home page
Current Research Interests and Subject Areas Available for Graduate Research
I am interested in understanding the mechanisms responsible for generating and controlling the motility of animal cells and, in particular, how cell motility contributes to the morphogenesis of embryos and to the invasion and spread of tumors. I am also interested in the related problem of cellular morphogenesis (i.e. the control of cell shape). At the present time, my work is focused on the role of motility and cell contact, including contact inhibition of cell movement, in the invasive and metastic behavior of murine melanoma cells. Observations on cell behavior in tissue culture are being correlated with the invasive behavior of the same cells in host animals in order to determine which aspects of cell behavior are either positively or negatively correlated with the ability of tumor cells to invade in vivo. I am also interested in the contribution of the cellular cytoskeleton to the phenomena of motility and invasion. Cytoskeleton is a collective term for the microfilaments, intermediate filaments, microtubules and other filamentous structures that are found in great abundance in the cytoplasm of most cells, and which are now thought to be involved in a wide variety of biological phenomena.
Most of my work is done with cells that are grown in tissue culture, although some tumor cells are serially propagated in animals. The methods being used in my lab to study cells include the following: Light microscopy with phase contrast and differential interference optics, time lapse cinemicrography, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, immunofluorescence microscopy, SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing.
I have a secondary interest in developing new methods of biological specimen preparation for scanning and transmission electron microscopy and I am interested in collaboration with others to apply ultrastructural methods to problems that are outside of my own narrow range of specialization.
Ph.D., Yale University
A.B., Washington University
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Vice Provost for Instruction