On Tuesday in a ceremony at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, OMRF dedicated the Sharon J. Bell Laboratory in its Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program.
The lab was named in recognition of long-time board member Sharon Bell of Tulsa. Bell, an attorney, is managing partner in the law firm of Rogers and Bell. She joined OMRF’s Board of Directors in 1988 and has since served in numerous leadership capacities, including chairing the board’s executive committee.
“Sharon Bell has provided outstanding leadership and wise counsel to OMRF for many years,” said Len Cason, Chairman of OMRF’s Board of Directors. “She has always been a director on whom we depend when there are tough decisions to make.”
As individual trustee of the Chapman Trusts, Bell has also helped provide OMRF with funding for dozens of scientific and capital projects, including a leadership gift that enabled the construction of OMRF’s 186,000-square-foot research tower.
The Sharon J. Bell Laboratory sits on the second floor of the research tower and houses a research team led by Courtney Montgomery, Ph.D. Montgomery’s research is focused on the identification of genes predisposing individuals to complex diseases, particularly colon cancer and inflammatory disorders. Her lab is involved in the development of new statistical and computational tools to assist in the discovery of these genes.
Bell has been instrumental in creating a partnership with the University of Tulsa, which has brought bioinformatics students into OMRF labs to help understand and develop new ways to intervene against diseases. Montgomery’s lab is a prime example of the benefits of this budding partnership.
“Sharon Bell has worked tirelessly on OMRF’s behalf, and her efforts have been transformative for our foundation and helped take us to new heights,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “This is just one way we can thank her and recognize what she has done in the past and continues to do.”
Twenty-five friends, family and OMRF staff members attended the dedication ceremony, which took place 28 years to the day since Bell joined OMRF’s board.
“We wanted to honor Sharon for her dedication, knowledge and support of OMRF,” said OMRF Chief Operating Officer Chip Morgan. “She really understands OMRF and has remained committed to our mission for nearly three decades. She is undoubtedly deserving of this honor.”