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Tempest, Helen

Associate Professor, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics

Office: AHC1 418B

Phone: 305-348-1484


Helen Tempest, PhD, received her undergraduate and postgraduate education at Brunel University (London, UK), earning a BSc in Applied Biology and her PhD in human genetics. Her PhD thesis investigated the association between sperm aneuploidy and male infertility. Following completion of her PhD she remained at Brunel University as a research associate, where she developed an infertility screening kit for rapid identification of porcine chromosomal rearrangements. Subsequently, she moved to the University of Kent (Canterbury, UK) as a post-doctoral fellow where she developed avian chromosome paints and conducted comparative mapping projects. There she became interested in combining nano-technology with conventional cytogenetics, using quantum dots as fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) probes. In 2006, she joined the laboratory of Professor Renée Martin as a post-doctoral fellow, at the University of Calgary (Canada), where she investigated the effect of chemotherapy on sperm aneuploidy, and assessed intra- and inter-individual variations in sperm aneuploidy. In 2008, she joined the London Bridge Centre for Infertility, Genetics and Gynaecology (London, UK) as the Senior Molecular Cytogeneticist & Clinical Research Coordinator where she performed preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) on single cells. In 2009, she joined the FIU HWCOM Department of Human and Molecular Genetics as an Assistant Professor and set up her independent research lab and developed and implemented the HWCOM genetics curriculum. In 2017, Dr Tempest was promoted to Associate Professor.

Dr Tempest’s research interests center on male infertility, PGT, and chromatin organization. Dr Tempest is one of the leading experts of sperm aneuploidy and maintains an active research program in the field of male infertility and PGT. Additionally, she utilizes cytogenetics to study chromosome biology and chromatin organization. Dr Tempest’s research is investigating whether the topological organization of chromatin changes following DNA damage and during DNA repair, and whether perturbations are linked to diseases (e.g., ovarian cancer and male infertility), to determine if chromatin organization can be utilized as novel diagnostic or prognostic tools. Furthermore, Dr Tempest also has an interest in medical education research focusing on the application of active learning pedagogies, integration of disciplines, and the effectiveness of essays to assess learning in medical education.

Dr Tempest's research has resulted in numerous book chapters, primary data publications and review articles in the top reproduction and cytogenetic journals, including Nature for her contribution to the chicken genome project. She has received several awards and scientific recognition including the 2006 and 2007 Petro Canada Young Innovators Awards, 2006 Champion Technologies Award, and the 2017 American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Ira and Ester Rosenwak New Investigator Award for her outstanding contributions to basic research in reproductive sciences. Dr Tempest plays an active role in multiple societies international societies has been involved in the organization of international conferences. Additionally, she serves as a peer-reviewer for journals and funding agencies and serves as an editorial board member for multiple journals. Dr Tempest has successfully obtained research funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Department of Defense and the National Institutes of health.

Complete publication list

Selected Publications

  1. Ioannou D, Fortun J, Tempest HG (2019). Meiotic nondisjunction and sperm aneuploidy in humans. Reproduction doi: 10.1530/REP-18-0318
  2. Lupi CS, Tempest HG, Ward-Peterson M, Ory SJ (2018). The educational effects of a summative diagnostic reasoning examination among second-year medical students. Medical Science Educator. org/10.1007/s40670-018-0610-x
  3. Ioannou D, Tempest HG. (2018). Does genome organization matter in spermatozoa? A refined hypothesis to awaken the silent vessel. Systems Biology in Reproductive Medicine. doi: 10.1080/19396368.2017
  4. Ioannou D, Millan N, Jordan E, Tempest HG. (2017). A new model of sperm nuclear architecture following assessment of the organization of centromeres and telomeres in three-dimensions. Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/srep41585
  5. Tempest HG, and Simpson JL. (2017). Why are we still talking about chromosomal heteromorphisms? Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 35: 1-2
  6. Fortun J, Morales AC, Tempest HG. (2016). Introduction and evaluation of Case-based learning in the first foundational course of an undergraduate medical curriculum. Journal of Biological Education. DOI: 10.1080/00219266.2016.1217909
  7. Ioannou D, Miller D, Griffin DK, Tempest HG. (2016). Impact of sperm chromatin in the clinic. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. 33:157-166
  8. Tempest HG, Gillis M, Weiler T, Fortun J. (2016). Design of a Platform to Discuss Ethical Considerations of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: a Case for Integration of Ethics in Foundational Science Medical Curriculum. Medical Science Educator. 26:213-219
  9. Ioannou D, Kandukuri L, Simpson JL, Tempest HG. (2015). Chromosome territory repositioning induced by PHA-activation of lymphocytes: A 2D and 3D appraisal. Molecular Cytogenetics. 8:47 doi:10.1186/s13039-015-0146-3
  10. Ioannou D, Kandukuri L, Quadri A, Becerra V, Simpson JL, Tempest HG. (2015). Spatial positioning of all 24 chromosomes in the lymphocytes of six subjects: Evidence of reproducible positioning and spatial repositioning following DNA damage with hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet B. PLOS ONE. 10(3): e0118886