Dr. Suzanne Bell, assistant professor of forensic chemistry, has been appointed as the new director of West Virginia University’s highly-regarded Forensic and Investigative Science (FIS) Program, effective July 1.

Bell is the author of the first and only comprehensive college-level textbook in her field,Forensic Chemistry(Prentice Hall, 2005).

She earned a bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and police science from Northern Arizona University , a master’s degree in forensic science from the University of New Haven , and a Ph.D. in chemistry from New Mexico State University .

Bell also has extensive practical experience, having spent several years as a forensic chemist with the New Mexico State Police laboratory.

She currently supervises a group of Ph.D. students conducting research in the areas of drug analysis, materials chemistry, microfluidic devices, analysis of explosives and residues and entomotoxicology.

Because Suzanne Bell has been a key faculty member for FIS for several years now, we’re anticipating a smooth transition,said Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, where Forensic and Investigative Science is housed.

The forensic program at WVU has the potential to be not just the national leaderbut the international leaderin forensic science education,Bell said.

My goal for the next few years is to build upon our strong foundation and expand into new and innovative forensic science education and research projects,she added.

Working with the forensic science initiative,Bell said,we will develop graduate programs, innovative in-service training for students and forensic professionals, and publicize our existing graduate programs in forensic chemistry and biology. We have already assembled a world-class advisory board of distinguished forensic professionals and will work with them to insure that our graduates are competitive and versatile in the forensic science and homeland security professions.

Bell succeeds Dr. Clifton Bishop, who has directed the program for the past three years.

A member of the committee that developed the initial curriculum for forensic identification and biometrics at WVU , Bishop led FIS to a number of crucial accomplishments.

During his tenure as director, WVU ’s program became one of only nine undergraduate programs in the nation to be fully accredited by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and the only one to be fully accredited in all three areas of study (forensic investigation, forensic biology and forensic chemistry).

He oversaw the design and building of WVU ’s forensic garage, the acquisition of Crime Scene House 3 and the International Association for Identification archives, and designed the renovations to Oglebay Hall, currently under way, as the new home for the FIS program.

We are deeply grateful for Clif Bishop’s dedication to the development of WVU ’s remarkable forensic and investigative science program,Mazey commented.He has played an important role in this effort from its beginning, and we look forward to his contributions to the next step in the program’s development.

For more information, contact Bell at Suzanne.Bell@mail.wvu.edu .