I'm designing a Turing machine that decides a language denoted by a regular expression. Let's say this expression is $a^*bbc^*$. Does this machine accept the string $bb$ since $a^*$ and $c^*$ can have zero instances or more?
Yes, the word $bb$ in the language generated by the regular expression $a^*bbc^*$, because, as you say, $a^*$ and $c^*$ generate also the empty word. So if you are building a Turing machine that accepts this language, it should also accept the string $bb$.