Dr. Ferguson, Director of HIV Pathogenesis Laboratory, has over 15 years of experience in HIV/AIDS research, with specific training and knowledge in virus-host interactions and 20 years of experience in the development of small molecule inhibitors. Her laboratory has an established and productive track record in HIV/AIDS research utilizing a variety of in vitro cell culture approaches to screen antiviral compounds, and to investigate mechanisms by which host cell factors facilitate different stages of the HIV life cycle. Through these studies she has developed enhanced methods to detect both active and proviral HIV forms. Additionally, her research is focused on aptamer-based therapeutics as anti-HIV microbicides as well as the development of these compounds to target key virus-host interactions.
In collaboration, she is focused on the development of co-culture systems: (1) to study live fibrosis in HIV/HCV co-infection; (2) to study how HIV alters the vaginal microbiome; and (3) to develop microbicide intra vaginal rings to prevent HIV-1 infections.
As a medical educator, Dr. Ferguson is the Co-Director of the Pathobiology and Host Defenses Course for first year medical students. She enjoys facilitating students on various academic levels by volunteering her time with educational outreach programs, including the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Programs for students in elementary through high school. Some of her professional memberships include Baylor-UT Houston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and International AIDS Society. She enjoys traveling internationally and participating with outdoor activities with her husband and son.