Research in the Ferguson laboratory applies chemical synthesis, biochemistry, mass spectrometry and cell biology towards the goal of developing new therapeutic strategies in cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Our research seeks to enable dissection of the cellular signaling networks underlying disease through development of selective tool compounds that act via inhibition, targeted degradation, proximity mediated-pharmacology, or alterations of posttranslational modifications. We cultivate a multidisciplinary and highly collaborative approach to science to tackle fundamental questions in disease biology and drug discovery.
M.Sc Chemistry (2010), Imperial College London; Ph.D Chemistry (2014), University of Cambridge; Postdoctoral studies (2015-2020), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute & Harvard Medical School.
Selected Awards and Honors:
William A. Lee Chancellor's Endowed Junior Faculty Fellow (2021), The Chemical Probes Portal Science Advisory Board (2020), Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemistry-Biology Interface Division Travel Award (2014), Emmanuel College Graduate Fund Travel and Research Award (2012), Imperial College London Chemistry Prize for Outstanding Overall Performance (2010).
- Organic Chemistry (CHEM 40B)
- Research (CHEM199, 299)
- Development of a chemoproteomic map of the degradable kinome, including chemical leads for > 200 kinases to accelerate degrader discovery efforts, large-scale chemical exploration of key variables for targeted protein degradation and new insights into fundamentals of ubiquitin-mediated protein turnover.
- Development of selective targeted protein degraders of aberrant tau proteins.
- Development of chemical probes for understudied kinases (DCLK1, CDK14-18), to interrogate their biological function and role in cancer.
K. A. Donovan*, F. M. Ferguson*, et al. (2020) Mapping the Degradable Kinome Provides a Resource for Expedited Degrader Development. Cell. 183(6):1714-1731.
B. Nabet*, F. M. Ferguson*, et al (2020) Rapid and direct control of target protein levels with VHL-recruiting dTAG molecules. Nat. Comms, 11(1):4687
F. M. Ferguson*, B. Nabet*, et al. (2020) Discovery of a selective inhibitor of Doublecortin Like Kinase 1. Nat. Chem. Biol. 16(6):635-643
F. M. Ferguson, et al. (2020) Synthesis and structure activity relationships of DCLK1 kinase inhibitors based on a 5,11-dihydro-6H-benzo[e]pyrimido [5,4-b][1,4]diazepin-6-one scaffold. J. Med. Chem. 63(17):10088
M. C. Silva*, F. M. Ferguson*, et al (2019) Targeted degradation of aberrant tau in frontotemporal dementia patient-derived neuronal cell models. Elife 8:e45457
F. M. Ferguson*, Z. M. Doctor*, et al (2019) Discovery of covalent CDK14 inhibitors with pan-TAIRE family specificity. Cell Chem. Biol., 26(6):804-817.e12
* Denotes co-first authors.
- Expertise in medicinal chemistry, development of selective chemical probes and targeted protein degraders.
- Expertise in fragment-based ligand discovery and screening, biophysics.