Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

Susan M. Ferguson PhD

Dr. Susan Ferguson is the current Director of the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI), and has served in this role since July 1, 2019.

Dr. Ferguson holds a faculty position in the UW School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and serves as faculty in the UW Neuroscience Program. She also leads a research lab at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Dr. Ferguson’s research investigates the neural basis of opioid and psychostimulant addiction, as well as polysubstance use. Her research uses a multi-level approach, combining molecular biology, anatomical circuit-tracing 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 numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and other publications.

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


Director, UW Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute
Professor, UW Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Faculty in Graduate Program in Neurosciences


BS, Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Michigan
PhD, Neuroscience, University of Michigan

ORCID: 0000-0002-2840-757X


Principal Investigator, Center for Integrative Brain Research (SCRI)
Faculty Liaison, Office of Teaching, Education, and Research (SCRI)
Member, UW Center for Excellence in Neurobiology of Addiction, Pain, and Emotion (NAPE)


Research & Other Projects