Press release

Professor Mike Ferguson appointed to Wellcome Trust Board of Governors

The Wellcome Trust today announces the appointment of Professor Mike Ferguson, Dean of Research for the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, to its Board of Governors. Professor Ferguson will take up his position in January 2012.

Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust Board of Governors, says: "We look forward to welcoming Mike onto our Board. He has extensive knowledge and experience of bringing together scientific disciplines to work together and of translating basic research into drug discovery programmes. He will make an invaluable contribution towards helping the Board oversee the implementation of the Trust's strategic scientific vision."

Professor Ferguson says: "It is a great honour to serve on the Board of Governors for the Wellcome Trust, an organisation that is a major force for good in global health and for which I have the greatest respect. I look forward to working with the Governors, the Executive and the dedicated staff of the Wellcome Trust to contribute to its mission of improving human and animal health by supporting outstanding individual and collective science."

Professor Ferguson began his career studying protozoan parasites, such as Trypanosoma brucei (which causes African sleeping sickness). His research into these organisms and how one might tackle them therapeutically took him to the Rockefeller University, New York, and the University of Oxford, before he moved to the University of Dundee in 1988.

At Dundee, Professor Ferguson established a laboratory dedicated to solving the structures of the major cell surface molecules of trypanosomes and the Leishmania parasite. He worked in collaboration with synthetic organic chemists to compare biosynthetic enzymes created by the parasites and their hosts.

These collaborations inspired Professor Ferguson and colleagues to establish a Drug Discovery Unit at the university in 2006, to translate the outputs of basic research into fully fledged and professional drug discovery programmes to deliver preclinical drug candidates against neglected tropical diseases and to help colleagues validate innovative drug targets in other therapeutic areas.

Professor Ferguson has published more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers. His work has been recognised by prizes including the 1996 Makdougall Brisbane Prize of The Royal Society of Edinburgh and the 2006 Wright Medal of the British Society for Parasitology. He has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. He was also made a Commander of the British Empire for services to science in 2008.

He became Dean of Research for the College of Life Sciences at Dundee in 2007.