Bell's research interests include investigating the neurobiological effects of HIV infection and co-occurring substance use to identify biomarkers for clinical intervention targets.
Examines the neural correlates and functional connectivity of distress tolerance among a cohort of substance users and healthy controls. Finds greater activation in a priori cortico-limbic network ROIs, namely the right insula, anterior cingulate cortex, bilateral medial frontal gyrus, right inferior frontal gyrus, and right ventromedial significantly predicted higher distress tolerance among substance users, not healthy controls.
Examines neural activation patterns in dorsal and ventral striatum in abstinent cocaine dependent individuals and non-using controls as they performed a cocaine craving task. Observes activations in nodes of the response inhibition circuit as they performed an inhibition task.
Uses diffusion tensor imaging to understand the effect of combined HIV+ serostatus and former cocaine dependence on cerebral white matter integrity. Indicates an extensive neuropathological effect of HIV and former cocaine dependence on white matter.