Adam Ferguson, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Neurological Surgery
Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC)
+1 415 206-3734

Background: Our research focuses on mechanisms of recovery after neurological trauma. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord invoke numerous, interacting biological processes that work in concert to determine recovery success. Some of these biological processes have contradictory effects at different phases of 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 recovery in the complex microenvironment of the injured central nervous system (CNS) requires large-scale integration of biological information and functional outcomes (i.e., Bioinformatics). Our work uses a combination of laboratory studies and statistical modeling approaches to provide an information-rich picture of the syndrome produced by trauma in translational in vivo 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.

Overarching goal: Understand and harness CNS plasticity to promote recovery of function after brain and spinal cord injury through bench-science and translational computational approaches.

Ongoing Research:

Computational Syndromic Discovery: Development of aggregate databases of basic spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury research data from multiple research centers to enable sophisticated knowledge-discovery, data-sharing, and multivariate quantification of the complete constellation of changes produced by neurotrauma.

Bench science: Inflammatory modulation of glutamate-receptor metaplasticity and its role in spinal cord learning and recovery of function after neurotrauma. Techniques: biochemistry (quantitative western, qRT-PCR, ELISA), histology (immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization), quantitative image analysis (robotic microscopy, confocal, deconvolution, image math) and behavioral analysis (locomotor scaling, fine-motor control, learning and memory).

Primary Thematic Area: 
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Research Summary: 
CNS Plasticity, Bioinformatics, and Recovery from Injury



Apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (APOE-e4) genotype is associated with decreased 6-month verbal memory performance after mild traumatic brain injury.

Brain and behavior

Yue JK, Robinson CK, Burke JF, Winkler EA, Deng H, Cnossen MC, Lingsma HF, Ferguson AR, McAllister TW, Rosand J, Burchard EG, Sorani MD, Sharma S, Nielson JL, Satris GG, Talbott JF, Tarapore PE, Korley FK, Wang KKW, Yuh EL, Mukherjee P, Diaz-Arrastia R, Valadka AB, Okonkwo DO, Manley GT

Emergency department blood alcohol level associates with injury factors and six-month outcome after uncomplicated mild traumatic brain injury.

Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia

Yue JK, Ngwenya LB, Upadhyayula PS, Deng H, Winkler EA, Burke JF, Lee YM, Robinson CK, Ferguson AR, Lingsma HF, Cnossen MC, Pirracchio R, Korley FK, Vassar MJ, Yuh EL, Mukherjee P, Gordon WA, Valadka AB, Okonkwo DO, Manley GT

Translational Stroke Research: Vision and Opportunities.


Bosetti F, Koenig JI, Ayata C, Back SA, Becker K, Broderick JP, Carmichael ST, Cho S, Cipolla MJ, Corbett D, Corriveau RA, Cramer SC, Ferguson AR, Finklestein SP, Ford BD, Furie KL, Hemmen TM, Iadecola C, Jakeman LB, Janis S, Jauch EC, Johnston KC, Kochanek PM, Kohn H, Lo EH, Lyden PD, Mallard C, McCullough LD, McGavern LM, Meschia JF, Moy CS, Perez-Pinzon MA, Ramadan I, Savitz SI, Schwamm LH, Steinberg GK, Stenzel-Poore MP, Tymianski M, Warach S, Wechsler LR, Zhang JH, Koroshetz W

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for Treating Neurocognitive and Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury: An Evaluation of Current Evidence.

Brain sciences

Yue JK, Burke JF, Upadhyayula PS, Winkler EA, Deng H, Robinson CK, Pirracchio R, Suen CG, Sharma S, Ferguson AR, Ngwenya LB, Stein MB, Manley GT, Tarapore PE

Motor Evoked Potentials Correlate With Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Early Recovery After Acute Spinal Cord Injury.


Dhall SS, Haefeli J, Talbott JF, Ferguson AR, Readdy WJ, Bresnahan JC, Beattie MS, Pan JZ, Manley GT, Whetstone WD