Remembering Dr Kenneth Adie Ferguson, 1921-2011

19 April 2012

Ken Ferguson had a 43-year career in the CSIRO and helped to produce key scientific discoveries concerning wool growth, animal nutrition, protein chemistry and clinical endocrinology.

In the 1950s, he described a mathematical technique, known as the ''Ferguson Plot'', that is still used to calculate the molecular weight of a protein by observing its passage through a gel. In 2007, he reprised this work in a paper published in a memorial edition of the journal Electrophoresis.

In his early studies, Ferguson was one of the first people to recognise that pituitary hormones are species-specific and that human hormones would be needed in clinical studies. Consequently, in 1964, he began a 20-year clinical collaboration with Professor Leslie Lazarus and Dr Margaret Stuart of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research on human growth hormone and growth promoting factors.

Kenneth Adie Ferguson was born on April 6, 1921, in Sydney, the third son of Eustace Ferguson, a pathologist, and his wife, Jessie (nee Perry). Eustace was noted as an amateur entomologist and his brother, Sir John Ferguson, was famous for his collection of Australiana, now housed in the Ferguson room of the National Library. Four of Ken's siblings became medical practitioners and one, David, was the founding professor of occupational health at the University of Sydney.

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