Bazell graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, in 1967 with a B.A. in biochemistry and Phi Beta Kappa honors. As an undergraduate, he wrote a science column called "Science for the People" for the Daily Californian. Afterwards, Bazell traveled to England, where he studied biology at the University of Sussex in 1969 as part of his graduate work, before returning to Berkeley to complete his doctoral candidate degree in immunology.
Bazell continued pursuing his dual interest in journalism and science by joining Science magazine in 1971 and writing for its News and Comment section. A year later, he left the publication to become a reporter for the New York Post. In 1976, he began his long career in broadcast journalism by joining WNBC in New York as a reporter before moving to NBC News.
At NBC, Bazell was one of the first network news correspondents to report on the emerging AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. He continued to cover health and science issues for the network. In 1998, Bazell wrote and published, HER-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer, which chronicled the creation of Herceptin, a drug used to treat breast cancer; the book received a positive review from the New York Times.The Lifetime 2008 film Living Proof, about a doctor who devotes his life's work to finding a cure for breast cancer, is based on the book.
His extensive coverage in the 1980s of the nascent AIDS epidemic, which included reports from the United States, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and South America, earned him the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award and the Maggie Award from Planned Parenthood. He also garnered two Emmys for his reports on the human brain. In 1993, Bazell was honored with the George Foster Peabody Award for his service to broadcast journalism.
Bazell and his wife, Margot Weinshel, reside in New York. He has three children: Rebecca, Josh and Stephanie. His son, Josh, is currently a psychiatry resident at the University of California-San Francisco and is the author of the acclaimed crime novel Beat the Reaper. Stephanie is a 2010 graduate of Duke University.