UGA’s 10th annual Ritter Lecture Series will feature Michael Ferguson, dean of Research for the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee in Scotland, on March 22 at 4 p.m. in Room 404B of the Biological Sciences Building.
“We are thrilled to have Professor Ferguson deliver the Ritter Lecture,” said Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, professor and head of the cellular biology department. “His work in basic biochemistry and cell biology has been phenomenal, leading to the establishment of new fields in glycobiology and parasitology. His recent success in translating basic scientific findings into potential new therapies for controlling neglected diseases is without peer in any academic institution. He embodies ‘needs-driven science’ at its highest level.”
Ferguson earned his B.S. degree in biochemistry at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and received his Ph.D. at London University. He continued research at Rockefeller University in New York and later at Oxford University. In 1988, Ferguson became a faculty member at the University of Dundee, where he established a laboratory dedicated to solving the structures of major cell surface molecules hoping to utilize these differences for drug design. Ferguson’s interest in protozoa that cause neglected tropical diseases inspired him to champion the establishment of a drug discovery unit at the University of Dundee. This unit translates basic research into multi-disciplinary drug discovery programs on a university campus.
The Ritter Lecture Series was established in 1999 to honor Hope T.M. Ritter Jr., professor emeritus of cellular biology at UGA. Although he officially retired in 1987, Ritter stayed active in writing and research until his death in 2007.