Our Team

Working together to discover cures.” – Dr. Sally Temple




Christy Allen – Graduate Student (Biomedical Sciences Dept. , SUNY Albany)

Christina is a PhD student in the Biomedical Sciences Department at SUNY Albany. She conducts research at NSCI on neuroprotective signaling molecules which could benefit neurons that are impaired in Parkinson’s Disease.



IMG_9857profileNathan Boles, Ph.D. – Principal Investigator

Ph.D. Interdepartmental Program in Cell and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine.

Nathan carried out his thesis work with Dr. Margaret A. Goodell studying the regulation of the hematopoietic stem cell. His work at NSCI explores the role of epigenetics in neural stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.


Borden_NSCI-2Sue Borden, B.A. – Research Technician

BA Biology: Russell Sage College, Biotechnology Certificate: HVCC

Sue has worked in neurobiology research labs at SUNYA, AMC and Cornell University, in clinical labs in Ithaca and the Albany area and as a teaching assistant in a local k-12 school. She recently joined the Retinal Stem Cell Consortium team as a research technician. Sue will be culturing and analyzing hRPE stem cells in preparation for clinical trials in the treatment of AMD.


David Butler, Ph.D. – Principal Investigator

David’s long term goal is to develop novel intracellular antibody (intrabody) therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders caused by misfolded proteins. He has a broad background in degenerative diseases associated with aging. As a postdoc in the Messer lab, which pioneered the use of intra-cellular antibodies in the brain, David developed bifunctional intra-cellular antibodies. David’s bifunctional antibodies were able to prevent mutant Huntingtin and Synuclein from misfolding while directing them to the proteasome for degradation. He is currently utilizing induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) disease modeling to develop novel bifunctional intrabody reagents for tauopathies such as FTD and Alzheimer’s disease. David is also an Adjunct Professor in the Biomedical Sciences Department, School of Public Health, SUNY Albany.

Charniga_NSCI Carol Charniga, B.S. – Research Technician/Manager of Operations

Carol worked in cancer research labs in Pennsylvania and at Albany Medical Center before joining AMC’s Dept. of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience and the lab of Dr. Sally Temple.  Since the creation of the NSCI, Carol has been involved in all projects – developing CNS, spinal cord and eye – as well as being the safety officer and Lab Manager of Operations. Currently, most of her work day is spent in the eye group lab, involved in the macular degeneration program.


img_1399-1Amber Frye – Graduate Student (Biomedical Sciences Dept., SUNY Albany)

Amber is a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) department at the University at Albany. Prior to graduate school, Amber worked as a research scientist at the University of Utah for four years studying the role of mechanosensitive ion channels in glaucoma. Her work at NSCI involves the establishment and maintenance of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiation pipelines to study retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) and the cell fate restrictions involved as they differentiate to become retinal neurons (RNs).


Goderie_NSCISusan K. Goderie, A.A.S., B.S. – Research Technician/ Manager of Research

After attending Hudson Valley Community College and Plattsburg State University University Susan worked for the New York State Birth Defects Institute culturing lymphocytes for karyology.  Later she worked in the kidney transplantation lab at the Albany Medical Center. She worked with Harold Kimelberg studying astrocytic swelling in response to ischemic conditions until 1995 when she joined the lab of Sally Temple. She oversees the daily lab research; training of new faculty, staff, and students; supervising the technical staff as well as directly contributing to the spinal cord injury, stem cell niche, embryonic brain development and macular degeneration projects.

Kawola_NSCISuzanne Kawola, M.S.Ed. – Director of Communications 

Suzanne joined NSCI in the Spring of 2013.  She is a graduate of Boston University and The College of Saint Rose.  A writer and business owner, she has contributed to the Albany Times Union, Magazine Division since 2007.  With a background in education, Suzanne directs community outreach.



Kiehl_NSCIThomas Kiehl, Ph.D – Principal Investigator 

Dr. Kiehl started his career with an M.S. in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After 10 years at GE Global Research, in their Computational Intelligence Lab, Tom returned to RPI full time to pursue a Ph.D. in Multidisciplinary Science with a focus on systems biology and biotechnology.  This was followed by a postdoc at Albany Medical College in Immunology.  A Computing Innovation Fellowship, awarded by the Computing Research Association, allowed Tom to spend two years at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering where he began work in computational neuroscience and RNA-seq analysis.  At NSCI Dr. Kiehl facilitates the integration of data analysis with bench work.  Tom is also pursuing applications of high-throughput in-vitro electrophysiological platforms for the study of development, spinal cord injury and neurological disease mechanisms. Learn more about the role of Computing@NSCI.

Lederman_NSCIPatty Lederman, B.S – Research Technician

Patty obtained a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the State University at Albany, NY. In 2001, she began her career as a Research Technician at the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, NY.  In December 2003, she joined Sally’s team where she continues to work as a Research Technician.



Le_NSCIShelia Le, B.S. – Research Technician

Sheila began her career as a Research Technician as a student at University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and continued to pursue her interests in the biological sciences upon graduation.  Her experience in this field includes work at Massachusetts General Hospital (Molecular Genetics) and David Axelrod Institute (Immunology).  In 2009, Sheila joined NSCI where she continues as a research technician working on early human neural development.


Lotz_NSCISteven Lotz, B.S. – Research Technician

After college, Steve worked for Taconic’s Surgical Modifications Department.  In 2001, he began a career as a Research Technician at the Albany Medical Center. Three years later, he joined AMC’s Immunolgy Core as the FACS operator.  In 2009 he began working at NeuraCell Bank, part of the Neural Stem Cell Institute, as the Sr. Flow Cytometry Applications Specialist.



Corneo_NSCINatalia Lowry, M.D., Ph.D. – Principal Investigator

Dr. Lowry received her MD from Russian State Medical University and her Ph.D. from Albany Medical College in 2000. Dr. Lowry has been trained in mouse neural stem cell research during a post-doctoral fellowship under Dr Sally Temple, and then joined NSCI in 2007 as a principal investigator with interest in using neural stem cells as a therapeutic tool to treat spinal cord injuries and other neurodegenerative diseases. Currently Dr Lowry combines her research work at NSCI with clinical education position at the Albany Medical Center.


McIlroyKathryn Mcilroy – Project Manager

Kathryn has a M.Sc. in Physiology and Pharmacology from McMaster University in Ontario and began at NSCI in 2014 after completing her latest assignment with her own consulting firm. As a consultant she identified opportunities for out-licensing and go to market strategies for GE and their Life Sciences division based in the UK. Prior to her time with GE, Kathryn was responsible for leading the nonclinical efforts as part of the CTO office at Light Sciences, a startup company in Seattle Washington.  Kathryn joins NSCI as the program manager for the stem cell group for the Tau Consortium whose mission is to advance the research and treatments for progressive supranuclear palsy and other tau related neurodegenerative diseases.



Anne Messer, Ph.D. – Principal Investigator 

Anne Messer, PhD, is a senior scientist focused on development of novel therapeutics for degenerative diseases caused by misfolding proteins that trigger breakdowns in the functions of critical cells.  She pioneered the use of engineered antibody technologies for Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.  Her recent studies range from antibody engineering and nanobody selection to brain delivery using gene therapies. This biotechnology to harness immune processes now is being combined with stem cell studies, and expanded to cover a range of important age-related diseases, including Age-related Macular Degeneration.  More about Anne.

Khadijah Onanuga, Ph.D., PMP – Project Manager

Dr. Khadijah Onanuga received her PhD in Nanoscale Engineering with a specialty in Nanobiotechnology from the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. As the Project Manager at NSCI, Dr. Onanuga oversees the Retinal Stem Cell Consortium Project, and its IND application process.




Janmeet  S. Saini, M.Sc. – Graduate Student (Biomedical Sciences Dept., SUNY Albany)

Janmeet has a M.Sc. in Human Genetics from Guru Nanak Dev University, India.  He is currently a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience at SUNY Albany. His Master’s thesis was on molecular and population genetics.  At NSCI, he is part of the eye group team and is exploring a disease in a dish model for Age related Macular Degeneration. Furthermore, Janmeet is working on the plasticity of Retinal pigment epithelium cells.


Stern_NSCIJeffrey Stern, M.D., Ph.D. – Principal Investigator/ Director of Translational Research/ Co-Founder

Dr. Stern was trained as a biophysicist in vision research at Brandeis University, MA and Rockefeller University, NY, receiving his PhD in 1982. He then studied medicine at Miami University Medical School and Ophthalmology at Albany Medical School and completed a fellowship in vitreo-retinal specialty at Mt. Sinai Medical School, NYC.



Temple_NSCISally Temple, Ph.D. – Scientific Director/ Principal Investigator/ Co-Founder

Dr. Sally Temple is the co-Founder and Scientific Director of the Neural Stem Cell Institute located in Rensselaer, NY. A native of York, England, Dr. 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.  As scientific director of NSCI, Dr. 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 NY 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. More about Sally.

Evan Stanton – Research Technician

Evan is a research intern working with Dr. David Butler on the maintenance and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC), as well as florescence microscopy. He is interested in disease modeling and regenerative research. Evan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Shawn Sutton, B.S. – Research Technician

Shawn is a military veteran who served four years in the United States Marine Corps. He graduated from the College of Saint Rose with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology.  In 2017, Shawn joined the Neural Stem Cell Institute as a research technician in the NeuraCell core facility.



WangJ_NSCIJenny Yue Wang, M.D. – Research Technician

Jenny obtained an MD in China and worked in the University of California before joining Dr. Sally Temple’s lab. Her research interest and experiences include but are not limited to: neural stem cell fate choice, cell culture and in vivo experiments on mice.



Admin_NSCICindy Butler – Executive Assistant

Cindy is the “go to” person at our organization.  She has many years of experience handling the administrative tasks associated with running a research laboratory.  Perhaps it is her previous experience in childcare that enables her to remain pleasant in even the most difficult situations.

Jake Parks – Bookkeeper

Jake is responsible for the day-to-day recording of financial transactions through invoices, journal entries and reconciliations. She verifies, maintains, and organizes the financial records. Jake also assists and supports the IT department and administrative division as needed.

Tom Irwin – Administrative Director

Tom received his MBA from Bernard Baruch College – City University of New York.  He has worked in the academic medical environment for 30 plus years mostly in research administration at Cornell Medical College, NYC and Albany Medical College, Albany, NY.  He has also served as an administrative reviewer for the NIH, IACUC institutional official, has been an institutional biosafety committee member and is currently an ex-officio member of the RPI institutional stem cell oversight committee (ISCRO).