Sally Temple

Research focuses on using neural stem cells to develop therapies for eye, brain and spinal cord disorders

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Sally Temple

School of Public Health
Department: Biomedical Sciences


Campus phone: (518) 694-8188
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Sally Temple is a professor of biomedical sciences at UAlbany's School of Public Health, as well as the co-founder, scientific director and principal investigator of the Neural Stem Cell Institute on UAlbany's Health Sciences Campus.

A native of York, England, Temple leads a team of 30 researchers focused on using neural stem cells to develop therapies for eye, brain and spinal cord disorders. In 2008, she was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship Award for her contribution and future potential in the neural stem cell field.

Temple received her undergraduate degree at Cambridge University, Cambridge U.K., specializing in developmental biology and neuroscience. She continued her Ph.D. work at University College London, U.K. and postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University, N.Y., where she focused on optic nerve development.

In 1989, Temple discovered that the embryonic mammalian brain contained a rare stem-like cell. Since then she has continued to make pioneering contributions to the field of stem cell research, focusing on the question of how neural stem cells alter their developmental potential over time to generate diverse progeny. Her research indicates that internal counting mechanisms, rather than external signals in the progenitors, determine the number of cell divisions they undergo. She has identified markers on progenitor cell lines and external signaling molecules that participate in maintaining and differentiating them.

Temple’s studies suggest that the limited success to date of embryonic stem cell transplants to repair neural damage could be due to introduction of stem cells at the wrong stage of development. It may be that progenitor cells further along in their differentiation will prove more effective. Through her research on the differentiation of neural progenitors, Temple brings us closer to developing effective clinical treatments for central nervous system damage due to trauma, neurodegenerative diseases, malignancy, or stroke.

As scientific director of NSCI, Temple oversees the research mission from basic to translational projects. She is also responsible for the staff, the budget and for developing the overall strategic plan for the institute. Dr. Temple is a member of the board of directors of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and of the medical advisory boards of the N.Y. Stem Cell Foundation and the Genetics Policy Institute. Her numerous articles have been published in such journals as Nature, Cell Stem Cell, Neuron, and Cell.

Temple is recipient of many prestigious awards including the Jacob Javitz Merit award from NIH (2003) as well as the MacArthur fellowship Award (2008) in recognition of her contributions to neural stem cell developmental biology.