Photo of Betsy M. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Betsy M. Ferguson Ph.D.

  •      (503) 346-5566
    • Associate 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 an Associate Professor in the Primate Genetics Section and Neuroscience Division of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and in the Molecular and Medical Genetics Department 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 diseases in both humans and monkeys to help identify genes 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.

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Areas of interest

  • Epigenetics
  • Addiction Biology
  • Genomics


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


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


  • "Discovery of a CLN7 model of Batten disease in non-human primates." Neurobiology of Disease  In: , Vol. 119, 01.11.2018, p. 65-78.
  • "Allogeneic stem cell transplantation in fully MHC-matched Mauritian cynomolgus macaques recapitulates diverse human clinical outcomes." Nature Communications  In: , Vol. 8, No. 1, 1418, 01.12.2017.
  • "Vitamin C prevents offspring DNA methylation changes associated with maternal smoking in pregnancy." American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine  In: , Vol. 196, No. 6, 15.09.2017, p. 745-755.
  • "Alcohol-dose-dependent DNA methylation and expression in the nucleus accumbens identifies coordinated regulation of synaptic genes." Translational Psychiatry  In: , Vol. 7, No. 1, 2016266, 01.01.2017.
  • "The population genomics of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) based on whole-genome sequences." Genome Research  In: , Vol. 26, No. 12, 01.12.2016, p. 1651-1662.
  • "Whole genome sequencing predicts novel human disease models in rhesus macaques." Genomics  In: , 02.11.2016.
  • "Genome-wide analysis of the nucleus accumbens identifies DNA methylation signals differentiating low/binge from heavy alcohol drinking." Alcohol  In: , 19.09.2016.
  • "Anti-Müllerian hormone is produced heterogeneously in primate preantral follicles and is a potential biomarker for follicle growth and oocyte maturation in vitro." Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics  In: , 15.09.2016, p. 1-11.
  • "Immunopathology of Japanese macaque encephalomyelitis is similar to multiple sclerosis." Journal of Neuroimmunology  In: , Vol. 291, 15.02.2016, p. 1-10.
  • "Whole-genome characterization in pedigreed non-human primates using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) and imputation." BMC Genomics  In: , Vol. 17, No. 1, 676, 2016.
  • "MAOA expression predicts vulnerability for alcohol use." Molecular Psychiatry  In: , 07.07.2015.
  • "Evolutionary History and Genetic Variation of Macaca mulatta and Macaca fascicularis."   The Nonhuman Primate in Nonclinical Drug Development and Safety Assessment. Elsevier Inc., 2015. p. 17-35.
  • "Development and validation of a SNP-based assay for inferring the genetic ancestry of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)." American Journal of Primatology  In: , Vol. 76, No. 11, 01.11.2014, p. 1105-1113.
  • "Drinking to Dependence Risk Factors in Nonhuman Primates."   Neurobiology of Alcohol Dependence. Elsevier Inc., 2014. p. 411-428.
  • "Genome typing of nonhuman primate models : Implications for biomedical research." Trends in Genetics  In: , Vol. 30, No. 11, 2014, p. 482-487.
  • "An empirical comparison of short tandem repeats (STRs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for relatedness estimation in Chinese rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)." American Journal of Primatology  In: , Vol. 76, No. 4, 2014, p. 313-324.
  • "A new rhesus macaque assembly and annotation for next-generation sequencing analyses." Biology Direct  In: , Vol. 9, No. 1, 2014, p. 20.
  • "The value of extended pedigrees for next-generation analysis of complex disease in the rhesus macaque." ILAR Journal  In: , Vol. 54, No. 2, ilt041, 11.2013, p. 91-105.
  • "An effort to use human-based exome capture methods to analyze chimpanzee and macaque exomes." PLoS One  In: , Vol. 7, No. 7, e40637, 27.07.2012.
  • "The rhesus macaque is three times as diverse but more closely equivalent in damaging coding variation as compared to the human." BMC Genetics  In: , Vol. 13, 52, 29.06.2012.
  • "Mitochondrial DNA deletions and differential mitochondrial DNA content in Rhesus monkeys : Implications for aging." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease  In: , Vol. 1822, No. 2, 02.2012, p. 111-119.
  • "A single-nucleotide polymorphism in the EAP1 gene is associated with amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea in nonhuman primates." Endocrinology  In: , Vol. 153, No. 1, 01.2012, p. 339-349.
  • "Genetic load is associated with hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation in macaques." Genes, Brain and Behavior  In: , Vol. 11, No. 8, 2012, p. 949-957.
  • "Variable prevalence and functional diversity of the antiretroviral restriction factor TRIMCyp in Macaca fascicularis." Journal of Virology  In: , Vol. 85, No. 19, 10.2011, p. 9956-9963.
  • "Resources for genetic management and genomics research on non-human primates at the National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs)." Journal of Medical Primatology  In: , Vol. 38, No. SUPPL. 1, 10.2009, p. 17-23.
  • "Resource brief : The National Non-Human Primate DNA Bank." Methods  In: , Vol. 49, No. 1, 09.2009, p. 3-4.
  • "Editorial." Methods  In: , Vol. 49, No. 1, 09.2009, p. 1-2.
  • "Who is at risk?" Alcohol Research and Health  In: , Vol. 31, No. 4, 2009, p. 289-297.
  • "MonkeySNP : A web portal for non-human primate single nucleotide polymorphisms." Bioinformatics  In: , Vol. 24, No. 22, 11.2008, p. 2645-2646.
  • "Heterozygous embryonic stem cell lines derived from nonhuman primate parthenotes." Stem Cells  In: , Vol. 26, No. 3, 03.2008, p. 756-766.

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