Temple F. Smith

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Temple F. Smith
Temple F. Smith at Yale, June 20, 2008.jpg
Temple F. Smith
Born March 7, 1939
Auburn, New York
Known for Smith-Waterman algorithm
Notable awards ISCB Accomplishment by a Senior Scientist Award[1]

Temple F. Smith is a university professor in biomedical engineering[2][3] who helped to develop the Smith-Waterman algorithm with Michael Waterman in 1981. The Smith-Waterman algorithm serves as the basis for multi sequence comparisons, identifying the segment with the maximum local sequence similarity, see sequence alignment. This algorithm is used for identifying similar DNA, RNA and protein segments. He was director of the BioMolecular Engineering Research Center at Boston University for twenty years and is now Professor Emeritus.


He obtained his bachelor's degree in 1963 from the Physics Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., and thereafter he graduated with a PhD. in 1969 in the Physics Department, University of Colorado at Boulder. Consecutively, he did his Postdoctoral research (March 1969 - August 1971) in the Department of Biophysics and Genetics, University of Colorado Medical School, Boulder.


His research is centered on the application of various computer science and mathematical methods for the discovery of the syntactic and semantic patterns in nucleic acid and amino acid sequences. In recent years this has focus on molecular evolution of protein families. such as the WD-repeat beta propellers, translation associated GTPase, and the ribosomal proteins.[4]

Notable Appointments/Positions Held[edit]

  • 1965 -1966: Instructor, US Airforce Lowery, Denver, CO
  • 1971 - 1984: Professor, Department of Physics, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
  • 1985 - 1991: Director, Molecular Biology Computer Research Resource, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health
  • 1991-2009: Director, BioMolecular Engineering Resource Center, Boston University
  • 1999 - : Co-organizer, 1999 Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth Discovering Biotechnology Day
  • 2000 - : Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer, Modular Genetics, Inc.