Steve Bell, a professor of biology in the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, has been named a Distinguished Professor—IU's highest academic title for its most outstanding and renowned scholars and researchers. Bell is also the chair of the College's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
In announcing this year's faculty members who were honored with the title, IU President Pamela Whitten wrote, "Indiana University faculty stand out because they push the boundaries of research, shape our culture, and alter the course of history. They also bring their groundbreaking scholarship into their classrooms and labs to enhance the educational experience of IU students."
Bell is a global leader in chromosome biology through his study of organisms living in extreme conditions. He investigates the machineries that duplicate, express, organize, and segregate the genome. To ensure viability, all cells must perform these processes in a timely and accurate manner. Bell and members of his lab exploit a multidisciplinary range of cell and molecular biological, biochemical, genetic, and structural approaches to determine the mechanistic and regulatory parameters that govern these essential cellular processes. Their work is driven by the evolutionary conservation of these fundamental machineries, allowing them to exploit a simple and robust model organism—archaea of the genus Sulfolobus. Bell's research has strengthened our understanding of the origins of life.