Dr Douglas Ward

Dr Douglas Ward

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Senior Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Robert Aitken Building
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Doug Ward is a Senior Research Fellow in the Bladder Cancer Group at the University of Birmingham.  His main research interests are the use of proteomic and genomic platforms to discover prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers for bladder cancer, biomarker validation and translation in to clinical use.


  • PhD in Protein Biochemistry, University of Leicester 1997 
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, University of Leicester 1991


Doug Ward spent the early part of his career using a range of biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of proteins such as Na,K-ATPase and cardiac troponin.  This lead to an interest in mass spectrometry and proteomics which expanded to proteomic analysis of clinical specimens in a range of biomarker discovery projects.  He now focuses on bladder cancer and uses both proteomic and genomic platforms for biomarker discovery.  This discovery work continues in parallel with ongoing validation of several novel biomarkers.



There are over 10,000 new cases of bladder cancer in the UK each year.  It is a very expensive cancer to treat and outcomes have not improved significantly for decades.  There is considerable scope to harness the molecular characteristics of these tumours to improve patient care.  Doug Ward’s current research centres around 2 hypotheses: 

1)    It should be possible to replace current invasive procedures (cystoscopy) with biomarker-based tests for the non-invasive detection of bladder cancers.
2)    Prognostic biomarkers should enable more effective treatment and monitoring of patients with bladder cancer. 

Using next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry-based proteomics our group has identified a number of potentially useful biomarkers for bladder cancer.  We are now using techniques such as targeted next generation sequencing of urinary DNA to validate these biomarkers in large cohorts of bladder cancer patients.


Multiplex PCR and Next Generation Sequencing for the Non-Invasive Detection of Bladder Cancer.  Ward DG, Baxter L, Gordon NS, Ott S, Savage RS, Beggs AD, James JD, Lickiss J, Green S, Wallis Y, Wei W, James ND, Zeegers MP, Cheng KK, Mathews GM, Patel P, Griffiths M, Bryan RT.  PLoS One. 2016 Feb 22;11(2):e0149756.  

Genomic complexity of urothelial bladder cancer revealed in urinary cfDNA.  Togneri FS, Ward DG, Foster JM, Devall AJ, Wojtowicz P, Alyas S, Vasques FR, Oumie A, James ND, Cheng KK, Zeegers MP, Deshmukh N, O'Sullivan B, Taniere P, Spink KG, McMullan DJ, Griffiths M, Bryan RT.  Eur J Hum Genet. 2016 Jan 13. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2015.281. 

Protein shedding in urothelial bladder cancer: prognostic implications of soluble urinary EGFR and EpCAM.  Bryan RT, Regan HL, Pirrie SJ, Devall AJ, Cheng KK, Zeegers MP, James ND, Knowles MA, Ward DG.  Br J Cancer. 2015 Mar 17;112(6):1052-8. 

Urinary EpCAM in urothelial bladder cancer patients: characterisation and evaluation of biomarker potential.  Bryan RT, Shimwell NJ, Wei W, Devall AJ, Pirrie SJ, James ND, Zeegers MP, Cheng KK, Martin A, Ward DG.  Br J Cancer. 2014 Feb 4;110(3):679-85. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.744. 

Combined proteome and transcriptome analyses for the discovery of urinary biomarkers for urothelial carcinoma.  Shimwell NJ, Bryan RT, Wei W, James ND, Cheng KK, Zeegers MP, Johnson PJ, Martin A, Ward DG.  Br J Cancer. 2013 May 14;108(9):1854-61. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.157. 

Expression of Engrailed-2 (EN2) protein in bladder cancer and its potential utility as a urinarydiagnostic biomarker.  Morgan R, Bryan RT, Javed S, Launchbury F, Zeegers MP, Cheng KK, James ND, Wallace DM, Hurst CD, Ward DG, Knowles MA, Pandha H.  Eur J Cancer. 2013 Jun;49(9):2214-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2013.01.019. 

Assessment of high-throughput high-resolution MALDI-TOF-MS of urinary peptides for the detection of muscle-invasive bladder cancer.  Bryan RT, Wei W, Shimwell NJ, Collins SI, Hussain SA, Billingham LJ, Murray PG, Deshmukh N, James ND, Wallace DM, Johnson PJ, Zeegers MP, Cheng KK, Martin A, Ward DG.  Proteomics Clin Appl. 2011 Oct;5(9-10):493-503. doi: 10.1002/prca.201100011.