Professor John Ward trained as a Biochemist and Molecular Microbiologist at the University of Bristol, UK. He moved to the University of Manchester in 1979 to work on Pseudomonas catabolic pathways and in 1983 joined the Department of Biochemistry at UCL (University College London) as a member of academic staff. He developed pathway engineering and host cell engineering for enhancing biomolecule production in collaboration with the Biochemical Engineering Department and began to work on a series of enzymes such as transketolase, cytochrome P450 and transaminase for biocatalytic production of chiral chemicals. He was awarded one of the 7 UK Research Council funded Networks in Synthetic Biology in 2008 and brought together researchers who collaborated on opto-electronic filamentous bacteriophages and building alkaloid biosynthetic pathways in bacteria. In 2011 he helped to set up the first UK dedicated synthetic biology company Synthace.
In 2012 John moved to the Department of Biochemical Engineering at UCL where he is expanding work on the synthetic biology of alkaloid pathway design, chassis engineering, building and developing filamentous phage systems as structural frameworks for nanodevice construction and metagenomics for accessing novel enzymes from disparate environments.