NPF’s new vice president of research and clinical affairs, Stacie Bell, Ph.D., has an extensive history in the sciences – a history that began among the beef cattle on her parents’ ranch in North Dakota.
“My father was the oldest son in his farming family, so he was destined to farm,” Bell says. “But he also had an extreme interest in math and science.” Dad and many supportive teachers in tiny Valley City, North Dakota, nurtured that interest in Bell and her sister, and today they each have a Ph.D. (Stacie’s in biochemistry, her sister’s in theoretical algebra).
The girls lost their grandmother to cancer when Stacie was in third grade. Despite being so young and “living in rural North Dakota,” her grandmother’s death prompted Stacie’s interest in clinical research. After graduating high school, she attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, because its strong hospital affiliation would give her the opportunity to apply her research.
She did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado, Denver, in the lab of Thomas Cech, co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1989 for his work on RNA. Bell worked on telomeres, structures at the ends of chromosomes that are involved with aging and malignancy.
Bell is the former associate vice president, clinical and preclinical research at the drug maker Viveve Medical of Englewood, Colorado. She sees her move to NPF as a natural progression for her, as she has spent the past decade working on diseases of the immune system, particularly rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. “I’ve always thought I could make more of an impact in chronic disease research,” she says.
Stacie Bell, Ph.D.
She has a forceful message for young students in STEM programs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics): “Never be afraid to try,” she says. “In a lab, in a class, never hesitate. You may fail, but unless you try, you’ll never learn. Ask a ton of questions.”
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