Sally has a biochemistry degree from UCC and a Ph.D. from the Cell Biology Programme at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. This was followed by EMBO and HFSP postdoctoral fellowships for cytoskeleton research at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She then moved to Elan Pharmaceuticals in Dublin as Group Leader of Cell Biology and Project Leader on a gene delivery joint venture with a Seattle-based biotechnology company, Targeted Genetics. During this time Sally completed an M.Sc. in Technology Management at the National Institute for Technology Management in UCD.