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Dr Elaine Ferguson 

Career Profile

I graduated from the University of Manchester with a First class Master of Pharmacy degree, having gained a broad knowledge of the principles and techniques of pharmaceutical sciences. This led me to work within the pharmaceutical industry sector  (AstraZeneca) where I acquired practical experience of these skills. After qualification as a registered pharmacist I decided to pursue my growing interest in developing novel drug delivery systems since my clinical pharmacy experiences had highlighted the clinical need for new treatments. I completed a PhD with Professor Ruth Duncan at Cardiff University in 2008, in which I developed a bioresponsive polymer-phospholipase conjugate for the treatment of breast cancer. This research ‘cemented’ my long-standing interest in using natural biodegradable polymers as novel carriers for bioactive agents.

Having demonstrated the feasibility of bioresponsive polymer therapeutics in cancer, my interests focused on exploring new clinical applications. Having identified regenerative medicine as a field in which bioresponsive polymer conjugates could have great potential, I joined an interdisciplinary EPSRC Nanomedicine Platform-led consortium. Employing highly sophisticated analytical techniques to develop and test dextrin-growth factor conjugates, we developed the first polymer therapeutics for tissue repair.

More recently, my funding from MRC and Wellcome Trust enabled my group to design and deliver the first bioresponsive ‘nanoantibiotic’ based on dextrin-colistin conjugates, which show improved drug stability, pharmacokinetics and retention of antimicrobial activity. This funding has supported the development of a small consortium, led by myself, of clinicians, postgraduates and a research assistant.

I was appointed as Lecturer of Polymer Therapeutics in January 2013 and look forward to expanding the Advanced Therapies Group in the School of Dentistry in the future.

  • Jan 2013 – present: Lecturer in Polymer Therapeutics, School of Dentistry, Cardiff, UK.
  • Nov 2008 – Dec 2012: Research Associate in Polymer Therapeutics, School of Dentistry, Cardiff, UK.
  • May 2008 – Oct 2008: Postdoctoral Research Scientist (Nanomedicines EPSRC Platform Grant), Schools of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Cardiff, UK.
  • Oct 2004 – Oct 2007: PhD Student (Polymer-Phospholipase Conjugates as Novel Anti-cancer Agents: Dextrin-Phospholipase A2). School of Pharmacy, Cardiff, UK.
  • Jul 2004 – present: Locum Pharmacist. Retail
  • Jul 2004: Qualification to practice as a pharmacist.
  • Feb 2004 – Aug 2004: Pre-registration Pharmacist. Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK.
  • Sep 1999 – Jun 2003: Master of Pharmacy (Hons) degree. School of Pharmacy, The University of Manchester, UK. Final result: First class

Memberships / External Activities

  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)
  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
  • Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering & Repair (CITER)
  • Microbiology and Infection Translational Research Group (MITReG)
  • European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID)
  • British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC)
  • Manuscript reviewer for numerous scientific journals
  • Grant reviewer for various research funding organisations
  • Vice chairman of Cardiff Triathletes

Teaching Profile

  • Provide tutorials & lecture on ‘Engineering Advanced Materials’ and ‘Nanotechnology’ for the MSc in Tissue Engineering & Repair.
  • Provide lectures and research project supervision for the MSc in Implantology.
  • External lecturer at University of Kent.
  • STEM Ambassador.

Awards / Prizes

  • May 2013: Selection for attendance at highly competitive Welsh Crucible residential workshops.
  • Dec 2012: Competitive Travel Grant: Microbiology and Infection Translational Research Group (MITReG) (£400).
  • May 2011: Science Team Award for ‘Best Interdisciplinary Dynamics’, SARTRE Science Showcase. Newport, UK.
  • Nov 2010: Oral Presentation, Association of British Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Annual Meeting. Cardiff, UK (1st prize awarded).
  • 2007: Competitive Travel Grants: Merck Sharp & Dohme (£500), Controlled Release Society (\ 25).
  • Jun 2006: Highlights of Student Posters, 33nd Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Controlled Release Society. Vienna, Austria (1st prize awarded).
  • 2006: Competitive Travel Grants: Graduate School of Biomedical and Life Sciences travel grant (£300), Thomas Morgan travel grant (£200).
  • Apr 2004: Poster prize Postgraduate research day, Welsh School of Pharmacy. Cardiff (1st prize awarded).
  • 8 prizes awarded to PhD students under my supervision.