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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Rob Bell '09

biology department

Photo of Rob Bell

Rob Bell ’09
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
High school: Pacific Collegiate High School

Rob Bell ’09 fell in love with “AP Biology” in high school. Fascinated with “learning about cellular life on the molecular level,” he weighed his options for college: Boston College or the University of California, Berkeley.

“The incredible opportunities for research convinced me to attend BC,” Bell says. “They teach practical skills that you can't obtain in a class setting.” He also liked the biology department’s intimate learning environment, with its small class sizes and opportunities for interaction with professors.

In the department’s undergraduate research program, Bell has pursued his academic interests “to their full potential” and discovered his passion for molecular and cellular biology. He has spent countless hours in the laboratory since sophomore year, including one summer, when he received funding to continue his research. His biology professors have mentored him and helped him navigate his college career, as well as prepare for graduate school.

Bell is completing a Biology Honors Thesis project in Professor Jeffrey Chuang's Bioinformatics Lab. He is researching cardiolipin—a unique lipid found mostly in the inner membrane of mitochondria—in normal and tumor-causing mouse brain tissue. His goal: To show how lipid abnormalities can be responsible for dysfunctional respiration in tumor cells.

Next year he will continue his studies in cancer research at the University of California, San Francisco, as a newly matriculated biomedical sciences doctoral student.

Bell is glad he chose BC. “I never would have had such close faculty relationships and the opportunity to do advanced research at a larger university,” he says.