Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

ADAI Welcomes New Director Susan Ferguson


Dr. Susan Ferguson was named as the new Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute in April, 2019, and officially began her role at ADAI on July 1.

“Addiction is a devastating disease with effects that run deep and wide. I’m excited to be part of an institute that is combatting this disease on multiple fronts, through advancements in research, dissemination, and engaging with our communities,” said Dr. Ferguson.

Dr. Ferguson holds a faculty position in the School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In addition to her role at ADAI, Dr. Ferguson leads a research lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where she also serves as the Faculty Liaison to the Office of Teaching, Education, and Research.

Dr. Ferguson investigates the neural basis of opioid and psychostimulant addiction. Her research uses a multi-level approach, combining molecular biology, anatomy and behavioral neuroscience, to understand the development of behaviors associated with drug reward and addiction, as well as in the processes that underlie decision-making, motivation and impulsivity. In addition, she examines how environmental factors, such as extended exposure to sensory stimulation, modulate the development of these behaviors. She’s published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals and other publications.

Dr. Ferguson received her undergraduate degree from the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, and completed her PhD and a Postdoctoral
Fellowship at the University of Washington.