Researcher biography

Dr David Ward is a Research Fellow in ageing and geriatric medicine at the Centre for Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine. David is particularly interested in how people's experiences, behaviours and health conditions can affect their chances of developing dementia as they grow older. A key component of his research is aimed at understanding the complex links between ageing, frailty and the brain.

David conducted his PhD at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, and graduated in 2015. This work centred on exploring modifiable (e.g. education level) and non-modifiable (e.g. genetics) risks for ageing-related cognitive decline within the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project. David subsequently held postdoctoral research positions at Population Health Sciences, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE, Bonn Germany)—where he investigated the viability of retinal biomarkers for cognitive functioning, among other topics—and Geriatric Medicine Research, Dalhousie University (Halifax Canada)—where he measured the relationships between frailty and the subsequent risks of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. After returning to Australia and prior to starting at The University of Queensland, David worked for two years as a Team Leader at the Ageing and Aged Care Unit, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (Canberra Australia).

Since 2020 and resulting from David's international postdoctoral positions, he has published three articles as first-author in world-leading journals: Neurology; the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry; and Annals of Neurology. David has won an award from the Erica Bell Foundation for Excellence in Medical Research and has acted as a peer-review for 15 journals and as an External Grant Assessor for NHMRC Project Grants. David was one of four academic developers who created the Preventing Dementia MOOC (~100,000 completers and ranked 4.9/5.0 on Class Central) and in 2018 was invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Bonn, Bonn International Graduate School. David is a member of the DEMON Network and is the current Chair of the Network's Frailty and Dementia Special Interest Group.