Mary Allison Bell, D.Phil., was a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was educated at Dalhousie University and Oxford. A faculty position followed a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. She joined the Department of Radiology at Wake Forest University in 1984 and was continuously funded by NIH grants as co-principal investigator until her untimely death in 1992.
Dr. Bell was a classical morphologist; she developed and applied the alkaline phosphatase enzyme histochemistry technique, which bears her name, for staining brain microvessels. This technique is the principal procedure employed by the microvascular pathology laboratory at WFSM. Always upbeat and enthusiastic, she was ever-ready to give guidance and support to graduate students and postdoctoral colleagues.