Featured Member Profile: Natalie Bell

Welcome to another installment of our featured member interviews where we will continue to introduce you to more of our members, individuals who work to advance ethical research on a daily basis. Please read on to learn more about their professional experiences, how membership helps connect them to a larger community, and what goes on behind-the-scenes in their lives!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Bell, IACUC coordinator at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

When and why did you join the field?
I joined the biomedical research field in 2000. At that time, I was looking for a career change. I had recently been laid off from a position in the insurance industry. A friend who was working at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) recommended that I apply for a position there. When I interviewed for the position, I thought maybe it was not for me, but I accepted the position anyway. It was the best decision I ever made.

Although I did not have any experience in this field or a scientific background, the director of the animal facility took a chance on me based on my years of experience with computers. I’ve not stopped learning since I started working in this field almost 10 years ago. Every day there is something new and challenging. I love my job.

What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is the IACUC meetings. I enjoy the meetings and taking the minutes. Listening to the robust discussion provides me with insight into the various studies proposed at my institution.

What’s your after-hours guilty pleasure?
My guilty after-hours pleasure is watching my soap operas that I tape via VCR. Yes, I said VCR. I’m still old school.

Why did you join PRIM&R?
I joined PRIM&R to better understand my position as an IACUC coordinator, to network with people in my field who have experience with the complex issues that arise in the day-to-day workflow, and to stay informed on various regulatory issues and updates.

What is your favorite member benefit?
My favorite member benefits are the e-networking opportunities, webinars, discounts for conferences, and certifications, such as CPIA.

What would you say to someone who is considering PRIM&R membership?
I would advise anyone considering PRIM&R membership that it is a great resource for everyone in the biomedical research field. Being a member of PRIM&R allows for learning and networking with like-minded individuals.

Additionally, I would advise attendance at the annual IACUC conference. I can go on for days about the conference and the knowledge I gained from this event. The conference is a perfect venue to learn, discuss issues facing all IACUCs, and find solutions.

What do you believe is a key challenge facing the field of research ethics?
I believe the key challenge facing the field of research ethics is conflict of interest, in that there is more focus on obtaining and/or losing funding as opposed to animal care. Although funding is extremely important, it should not be the only consideration when submitting and/or reviewing a proposal.

Thank you for being part of the membership community and sharing your story, Natalie. Let us know how long your VCR lasts!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a member, please visit our website today.