Adam Ferguson PhD

tl_files/NS_Main/Faculty/Ferguson.jpgAssociate Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery

Principal Investigator, Brain and Spinal Injury Center




Dr. Ferguson’s research focuses on the mechanisms of recovery after neurological trauma. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord invoke a number of complex biological processes that work in concert to determine the extent of tissue repair and functional recovery. To further complicate matters, some biological processes have contradictory effects when present at different stages of neurological recovery. For example, mechanisms of synaptic regulation can contribute to cell death in the early phases of recovery but may promote plasticity and restoration of function at later stages. Understanding the mechanisms of repair in the complex microenvironment of the injured central nervous system (CNS) requires a large-scale integration of complex biological information and functional outcomes. Dr. Ferguson’s work uses a combination of molecular and cell biology, behavioral neuroscience, and statistical modeling to provide an information-rich picture of the holistic syndrome produced by CNS trauma in translational models. The long-term goal of this research is to provide system-level therapeutic targets for enhancing recovery of function after brain and spinal injury.

Education, Training, and Previous Positions

1994-1998: BA, Southwestern University
1998-2000: MS, Texas A&M University
2000-2004: PhD, Texas A&M University
2004-2006: Postdoctoral Scholar, Neuroscience, Ohio State University
2006-2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurological Surgery, UCSF
2010-present: Research Biologist, San Diego VA

Selected Professional Memberships and Appointments

Society for Neuroscience
American Association for the Advancement of Science
New York Academy of Sciences
National Neurotrauma Society
American Psychological Association, Division 6
American Pain Society

Selected Honors and Awards

1996: Psi Chi
2000: Phi Kappa Phi
2000: Texas A&M University Thesis Minigrant
2002: Society for Neuroscience Chapters/Eli Lilly Graduate Student Travel Award
2004: Texas A&M University Distinguished Graduate Student Doctoral Research Award
2006: Ohio State Medical Center Research Day Postdoc Poster Competition Winner
2007: National Neurotrauma Symposium Travel Grant Winner
2007: Michael Goldberger Prize, National Neurotrauma Society
2009: Nanosymposium Chair, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting
2006-2010: NIH NINDS Individual NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32)
2010: NIH NINDS Early Stage Investigator Award (R01)
2010: NIH NINDS Established Investigator Award (R01)

Selected Recent Publications

Burke JF, Yue JK, Ngwenya LB, Winkler EA, Talbott J, Pan J, Ferguson A, Beattie M, Bresnahan J, Haefeli J, Whetstone W, Suen C, Huang MC, Manley GT, Tarapore PE, Dhall SS. 182 Ultra-Early (<12 Hours) Decompression Improves Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury Compared to Early (12-24 Hours) Decompression. Neurosurgery. 2016 Aug;63 Suppl 1:172. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000489751.59414.45. PubMed PMID: 27399461.

Sorani MD, Ferguson AR. In Response to: American Professional Football Concussions During the 2013 to 2014 Season. Clin J Sport Med. 2016 Jul;26(4):345. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000249. PubMed PMID: 27359296.

Readdy WJ, Saigal R, Whetstone WD, Mefford A, Ferguson AR, Talbott JF, Inoue T, Bresnahan JC, Beattie MS, Pan J, Manley GT, Dhall SS. Failure of Mean Arterial Pressure Goals to Improve Outcomes Following Penetrating Spinal Cord Injury. Neurosurgery. 2016 May 3. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27145343.

Lee S, Mattingly A, Lin A, Sacramento J, Mannent L, Castel MN, Canolle B, Delbary-Gossart S, Ferzaz B, Morganti JM, Rosi S, Ferguson AR, Manley GT, Bresnahan JC, Beattie MS. A novel antagonist of p75NTR reduces peripheral expansion and CNS trafficking of pro-inflammatory monocytes and spares function after traumatic brain injury. J Neuroinflammation. 2016 Apr 22;13(1):88. doi: 10.1186/s12974-016-0544-4. PubMed PMID: 27102880; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4840857.

Delbary-Gossart S, Lee S, Baroni M, Lamarche I, Arnone M, Canolle B, Lin A, Sacramento J, Salegio EA, Castel MN, Delesque-Touchard N, Alam A, Laboudie P, Ferzaz B, Savi P, Herbert JM, Manley GT, Ferguson AR, Bresnahan JC, Bono F, Beattie MS. A novel inhibitor of p75-neurotrophin receptor improves functional outcomes in two models of traumatic brain injury. Brain. 2016 Jun;139(Pt 6):1762-82. doi: 10.1093/brain/aww074. Epub 2016 Apr 15. PubMed PMID: 27084575; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4892754.

Callahan A, Abeyruwan SW, Al-Ali H, Sakurai K, Ferguson AR, Popovich PG, Shah NH, Visser U, Bixby JL, Lemmon VP. RegenBase: a knowledge base of spinal cord injury biology for translational research. Database (Oxford). 2016 Apr 7;2016. pii: baw040. doi: 10.1093/database/baw040. Print 2016. PubMed PMID: 27055827; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4823819.

Hawryluk GW, Phan N, Ferguson AR, Morabito D, Derugin N, Stewart CL, Knudson MM, Manley G, Rosenthal G. Brain tissue oxygen tension and its response to physiological manipulations: influence of distance from injury site in a swine model of traumatic brain injury. J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb 5:1-12. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26848909.

Salegio EA, Bresnahan JC, Sparrey CJ, Camisa W, Fischer J, Leasure J, Buckley J, Nout-Lomas YS, Rosenzweig ES, Moseanko R, Strand S, Hawbecker S, Lemoy MJ, Haefeli J, Ma X, Nielson JL, Edgerton VR, Ferguson AR, Tuszynski MH, Beattie MS. A Unilateral Cervical Spinal Cord Contusion Injury Model in Non-Human Primates (Macaca mulatta). J Neurotrauma. 2016 Mar 1;33(5):439-59. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.3956. Epub 2016 Jan 20. PubMed PMID: 26788611; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4799702.

Huie JR, Stuck ED, Lee KH, Irvine KA, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Grau JW, Ferguson AR. AMPA Receptor Phosphorylation and Synaptic Colocalization on Motor Neurons Drive Maladaptive Plasticity below Complete Spinal Cord Injury. eNeuro. 2015 Nov 16;2(5). pii: ENEURO.0091-15.2015. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0091-15.2015. eCollection 2015 Sep-Oct. PubMed PMID: 26668821; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4677690.

Winkler EA, Yue JK, McAllister TW, Temkin NR, Oh SS, Burchard EG, Hu D, Ferguson AR, Lingsma HF, Burke JF, Sorani MD, Rosand J, Yuh EL, Barber J, Tarapore PE, Gardner RC, Sharma S, Satris GG, Eng C, Puccio AM, Wang KK, Mukherjee P, Valadka AB, Okonkwo DO, Diaz-Arrastia R, Manley GT; TRACK-TBI Investigators. COMT Val 158 Met polymorphism is associated with nonverbal cognition following mild traumatic brain injury. Neurogenetics. 2016 Jan;17(1):31-41. doi: 10.1007/s10048-015-0467-8. Epub 2015 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 26576546.

Nielson JL, Paquette J, Liu AW, Guandique CF, Tovar CA, Inoue T, Irvine KA, Gensel JC, Kloke J, Petrossian TC, Lum PY, Carlsson GE, Manley GT, Young W, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Ferguson AR. Topological data analysis for discovery in preclinical spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Nat Commun. 2015 Oct 14;6:8581. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9581. PubMed PMID: 26466022; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4634208.

Awai L, Bolliger M, Ferguson AR, Courtine G, Curt A. Influence of Spinal Cord Integrity on Gait Control in Human Spinal Cord Injury. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2016 Jul;30(6):562-72. doi: 10.1177/1545968315600524. Epub 2015 Oct 1. PubMed PMID: 26428035; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4818198.

Mabray MC, Talbott JF, Whetstone WD, Dhall SS, Phillips DB, Pan JZ, Manley GT, Bresnahan JC, Beattie MS, Haefeli J, Ferguson AR. Multidimensional Analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Predicts Early Impairment in Thoracic and Thoracolumbar Spinal Cord Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2016 May 15;33(10):954-62. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4093. Epub 2016 Feb 1. PubMed PMID: 26414451; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4876497.

Friedli L, Rosenzweig ES, Barraud Q, Schubert M, Dominici N, Awai L, Nielson JL, Musienko P, Nout-Lomas Y, Zhong H, Zdunowski S, Roy RR, Strand SC, van den Brand R, Havton LA, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Bézard E, Bloch J, Edgerton VR, Ferguson AR, Curt A, Tuszynski MH, Courtine G. Pronounced species divergence in corticospinal tract reorganization and functional recovery after lateralized spinal cord injury favors primates. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Aug 26;7(302):302ra134. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac5811. PubMed PMID: 26311729.

Readdy WJ, Whetstone WD, Ferguson AR, Talbott JF, Inoue T, Saigal R, Bresnahan JC, Beattie MS, Pan JZ, Manley GT, Dhall SS. Complications and outcomes of vasopressor usage in acute traumatic central cord syndrome. J Neurosurg Spine. 2015 Jul 31:1-7. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26230417.

Talbott JF, Whetstone WD, Readdy WJ, Ferguson AR, Bresnahan JC, Saigal R, Hawryluk GW, Beattie MS, Mabray MC, Pan JZ, Manley GT, Dhall SS. The Brain and Spinal Injury Center score: a novel, simple, and reproducible method for assessing the severity of acute cervical spinal cord injury with axial T2-weighted MRI findings. J Neurosurg Spine. 2015 Oct;23(4):495-504. doi: 10.3171/2015.1.SPINE141033. Epub 2015 Jul 10. PubMed PMID: 26161519.

Gerasimenko YP, Lu DC, Modaber M, Zdunowski S, Gad P, Sayenko DG, Morikawa E, Haakana P, Ferguson AR, Roy RR, Edgerton VR. Noninvasive Reactivation of Motor Descending Control after Paralysis. J Neurotrauma. 2015 Dec 15;32(24):1968-80. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4008. Epub 2015 Aug 20. PubMed PMID: 26077679; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4677519.

Kwon BK, Streijger F, Hill CE, Anderson AJ, Bacon M, Beattie MS, Blesch A, Bradbury EJ, Brown A, Bresnahan JC, Case CC, Colburn RW, David S, Fawcett JW, Ferguson AR, Fischer I, Floyd CL, Gensel JC, Houle JD, Jakeman LB, Jeffery ND, Jones LA, Kleitman N, Kocsis J, Lu P, Magnuson DS, Marsala M, Moore SW, Mothe AJ, Oudega M, Plant GW, Rabchevsky AS, Schwab JM, Silver J, Steward O, Xu XM, Guest JD, Tetzlaff W. Large animal and primate models of spinal cord injury for the testing of novel therapies. Exp Neurol. 2015 Jul;269:154-68. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2015.04.008. Epub 2015 Apr 19. PubMed PMID: 25902036.

Hawryluk G, Whetstone W, Saigal R, Ferguson A, Talbott J, Bresnahan J, Dhall S, Pan J, Beattie M, Manley G. Mean Arterial Blood Pressure Correlates with Neurological Recovery after Human Spinal Cord Injury: Analysis of High Frequency Physiologic Data. J Neurotrauma. 2015 Dec 15;32(24):1958-67. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3778. Epub 2015 Aug 17. PubMed PMID: 25669633; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4677564.

Yue JK, Pronger AM, Ferguson AR, Temkin NR, Sharma S, Rosand J, Sorani MD, McAllister TW, Barber J, Winkler EA, Burchard EG, Hu D, Lingsma HF, Cooper SR, Puccio AM, Okonkwo DO, Diaz-Arrastia R, Manley GT; COBRIT Investigators; TRACK-TBI Investigators. Association of a common genetic variant within ANKK1 with six-month cognitive performance after traumatic brain injury. Neurogenetics. 2015 Jul;16(3):169-80. doi: 10.1007/s10048-015-0437-1. Epub 2015 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 25633559.

Morganti JM, Jopson TD, Liu S, Riparip LK, Guandique CK, Gupta N, Ferguson AR, Rosi S. CCR2 antagonism alters brain macrophage polarization and ameliorates cognitive dysfunction induced by traumatic brain injury. J Neurosci. 2015 Jan 14;35(2):748-60. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2405-14.2015. PubMed PMID: 25589768; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4293420.

Nielson JL, Haefeli J, Salegio EA, Liu AW, Guandique CF, Stück ED, Hawbecker S, Moseanko R, Strand SC, Zdunowski S, Brock JH, Roy RR, Rosenzweig ES, Nout-Lomas YS, Courtine G, Havton LA, Steward O, Reggie Edgerton V, Tuszynski MH, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Ferguson AR. Leveraging biomedical informatics for assessing plasticity and repair in primate spinal cord injury. Brain Res. 2015 Sep 4;1619:124-38. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.10.048. Epub 2014 Nov 4. Review. PubMed PMID: 25451131; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4418964.

Sorani MD, Yue JK, Sharma S, Manley GT, Ferguson AR; TRACK TBI Investigators. Genetic data sharing and privacy. Neuroinformatics. 2015 Jan;13(1):1-6. doi: 10.1007/s12021-014-9248-z. PubMed PMID: 25326433.

Grau JW, Huie JR, Lee KH, Hoy KC, Huang YJ, Turtle JD, Strain MM, Baumbauer KM, Miranda RM, Hook MA, Ferguson AR, Garraway SM. Metaplasticity and behavior: how training and inflammation affect plastic potential within the spinal cord and recovery after injury. Front Neural Circuits. 2014 Sep 8;8:100. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2014.00100. eCollection 2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25249941; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4157609.

Garraway SM, Woller SA, Huie JR, Hartman JJ, Hook MA, Miranda RC, Huang YJ, Ferguson AR, Grau JW. Peripheral noxious stimulation reduces withdrawal threshold to mechanical stimuli after spinal cord injury: role of tumor necrosis factor alpha and apoptosis. Pain. 2014 Nov;155(11):2344-59. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.08.034. Epub 2014 Aug 29. PubMed PMID: 25180012; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4253555.

Nielson JL, Guandique CF, Liu AW, Burke DA, Lash AT, Moseanko R, Hawbecker S, Strand SC, Zdunowski S, Irvine KA, Brock JH, Nout-Lomas YS, Gensel JC, Anderson KD, Segal MR, Rosenzweig ES, Magnuson DS, Whittemore SR, McTigue DM, Popovich PG, Rabchevsky AG, Scheff SW, Steward O, Courtine G, Edgerton VR, Tuszynski MH, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC, Ferguson AR. Development of a database for translational spinal cord injury research. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Nov 1;31(21):1789-99. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3399. Epub 2014 Jul 31. PubMed PMID: 25077610; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4186058.

Irvine KA, Ferguson AR, Mitchell KD, Beattie SB, Lin A, Stuck ED, Huie JR, Nielson JL, Talbott JF, Inoue T, Beattie MS, Bresnahan JC. The Irvine, Beatties, and Bresnahan (IBB) Forelimb Recovery Scale: An Assessment of Reliability and Validity. Front Neurol. 2014 Jul 7;5:116. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2014.00116. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25071704; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4083223.

Lemmon VP, Ferguson AR, Popovich PG, Xu XM, Snow DM, Igarashi M, Beattie CE, Bixby JL; MIASCI Consortium. Minimum information about a spinal cord injury experiment: a proposed reporting standard for spinal cord injury experiments. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Aug 1;31(15):1354-61. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3400. Epub 2014 Jul 11. PubMed PMID: 24870067; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4120647.