Headshot photo of Betsy M. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Betsy M. Ferguson, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Oregon National Primate Research Center
  • Associate Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine
  • Director, ONPRC Japanese Macaque Resource
  • Director, ONPRC Primate Genetics Core Services
  • Molecular and Medical Genetics Graduate Program, School of Medicine
  • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine


Betsy Ferguson, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Divisions of Genetics and Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and in the Dept of Molecular and Medical Genetics at OHSU. 

She uses genetic, epigenetic and genomic approaches to understand how risk for neurological diseases are established. She makes use of the similarity of genomes and diseases in both humans and monkeys to uncover  genes and mechanisms that influence disease risk.

Dr. Ferguson believes that by finding the underlying genetic or epigenetic mechanisms, we will be able to develop more effective treatments for neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Ferguson joined OHSU in 1995.

Education and training

    • B.S., 1981, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    • Ph.D., 1990, University of Washington
  • Internship

    • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, 1991-1993
  • Fellowship

    • Postdoctoral Fellow: Stanford University, 1991-1993

Memberships and associations:

  • American Society of Human Genetics, 1998-
  • Research Society on Alcoholism, 2008-

Areas of interest

  • Epigenetics
  • Addiction Biology
  • Genomics
  • Rare Genetic Disease

Honors and awards

  • Life Science Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, 1991


Selected publications

  • Cervera-Juanes, R., Wilhelm, L, Park, B, Lee, R, Locke, J, Gonzales, S, Wand, G, Jones, SR, Grant, KA and Ferguson, B. (2016) MAOA expression predicts vulnerability for alcohol use. Mol Psychiatry. (4):472-9. PMID: 26148813; PMC4705001.
  • Bimber, B.N., Raboin, M.J., Letaw, J., Nevonen, K.A., Spindel, J.E., McCouch, S.R., Cervera-Juanes, R., Spindel, E., Carbone, L., Ferguson, B., and Vinson, A. (2016) Whole genome characterization in pedigreed non-human primates using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) and imputation.  BMC Genomics 17:676. PMID:27558348; PMC4997765
  • Cervera-Juanes, R., Wilhelm, L, Park, B, Grant, KA and Ferguson, B. (2017) Alcohol-dose-dependent DNA methylation and expression in the nucleus accumbens identifies coordinated regulation of synaptic genes. Transl Psychiatry. 2017 Jan 10;7(1):e994. PMID: 28072409;  PMC5545731
  • Cuzon Carlson V. C., Ford M. M., Carlson T.L., Lomniczi A., Grant K.A., Ferguson B., Cervera-Juanes R.P. (2019) Modulation of Gpr39, a G-protein coupled receptor associated with alcohol use in nonhuman primates, curbs ethanol intake in mice. Neuropsychopharm.  2019 May;44(6):1103- 1113. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0308-1. Epub 2019 Jan 5. PMID: 30610192;  PMC6461847
  • Bimber, B.N., Yan, M.Y., Peterson, S.M., Ferguson, B. (2019) mGAP: the macaque genotype and phenotype resource, a framework for accessing and interpreting macaque variant data, and identifying new models of human disease. BMC Genomics. 2019 Mar 6:20(1):176. doi: 10.1186/s12864-019-5559-7. PMID: 30841849; PMC6402181


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