Dr. Ken Ward received his M.D. degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1978, then after an internal medicine residency, performed a research fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to his position as Senior Scientist at Legacy, he is Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Clinical Nutrition, at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. In 1995, he received the MacLeod award for research and education (Oregon affiliate, American Diabetes Association).
Dr. Ward is an endocrinologist and diabetologist whose primary research interest is implantable biosensors. As Principal Investigator of the Glucose Sensor Laboratory at Legacy, he and his research team have developed a completely implantable electro-chemical sensor that is now undergoing tests in animal models. The sensor is equipped with a transmitter and sends the sensor glucose signals to an external receiver. The sensor is implanted underneath the skin in a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes.
One of the major interests of the team is centered on the issue of time-related sensor drift, an important problem in the field. After a period of time, the body generates a fibrous capsule that surrounds the implanted sensor. When this happens, glucose entry into the sensor is inhibited and the performance of the device is reduced. To combat this process, Dr. Ward and the team are working on engineering changes in the tissue that surrounds the device. In particular, the team is interested in slowly releasing compounds into the surrounding tissue that will change the nature of the foreign body capsule, lessen the scar tissue, and grow new blood vessels around the sensor. His current funding is from the NIH (NIDDK) and from Legacy Health System.
Dr. Ward is also involved in clinical research in the areas of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He is interested in novel preparations of insulin, novel oral agents and novel methods of reducing the complications of diabetes.