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Prof Kate Ward


Professor of Global Musculoskeletal Health

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Kate is Professor of Global Musculoskeletal Health, University of Southampton. She Directed the NIHR Global Health Nutrition Research Group in Southampton (2018-22). She is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at MRC Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Honorary Associate Professor at University of The Witwatersrand. 

Her research career spans over 20-years’ experience in musculoskeletal research in the UK and in Africa. She is a co-I in two programmes in the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre and has demonstrated successful research leadership as PI in several UK-project grants and MRC programmes. Kate is President of the UK Bone Research Society.

Landmark publications:

1. O’Breasail M., Parsons C, Zengin A., Jarjou L., Cooper C., Ebeling P., Prentice A, Ward K. Longitudinal change in bone density, geometry and estimated bone strength in older men and women from The Gambia: Findings from The Gambian Bone and Muscle Ageing Study (GamBAS). J Bone Miner Res, DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.4727 

2. Zengin A., Parsons C, Jarjou LM, Prentice A, Cooper C, Ebeling PR, Ward KA. Sex-specific associations between cardiovascular risk factors and physical function: The Gambian Bone and Muscle Ageing Study Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle. Accepted 2022

3. Norris SA, Frongillo EA, Black MM, Dong Y, Fall C, Lampl M, Liese AD, Naguib M, Prentice A, Rochat T, Stephensen CB, Tinago CB, Ward KA, Wrottesley SV, Patton G. Nutrition in adolescent growth and development. Lancet. 2022 Jan 8;399(10320):172-184. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01590-7. Epub 2021 Nov 29.

4. O’Breasail MO, Ward KA, Schoenbuchner SM, Ceesay M, Mendy M, Jarjou LM, Moore SE, Prentice A. Pregnancy-related chane in pQCT and bone biochemistry in a population with a habitually low calcium intake. J Bone Miner Res. 2021

5. Zengin A., Jarjou LM, Janha R, Prentice A, Cooper C, Ebeling PR, Ward KA. Sex-specific associations between cardiac workload, peripheral vascular calcification, and bone mineral density: The Gambian Bone and Muscle Ageing Study. J Bone Miner Res. 2021 Feb;36(2):227-235. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4196. Epub 2020 Nov 28.

6. Gregson CL, Cassim B, Micklesfield LK, Lukhele M, Ferrand RA, Ward KA and the SAMSON Collaborative Group. Time to break the myth: fragility fracture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet Global Health, Lancet Glob Health. 2019 Jan;7(1):e26-e27. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30412-1.

7. Muthuri S, Ward KA, Kuh D, Elhakeem A, Adams JE, Cooper R. Physical activity across adulthood and bone health in later life: the 1946 British birth cohort. J Bone Miner Res. 2018 Oct 22. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3607.

8. Robinson SM, Westbury LD, Cooper R, Kuh D, Ward K, Syddall HE, Sayer AA, Cooper C. Adult Lifetime Diet Quality and Physical Performance in Older Age: Findings From a British Birth Cohort. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017;13:13.

9. Hamill MM, Pettifor JM, Ward KA, Norris SA, Prentice A. Changes in Bone Mineral Density, Body Composition, Vitamin D Status, and Mineral Metabolism in Urban HIV-Positive South African Women Over 12 Months. J Bone Miner Res. 2017 Aug;32(8):1615-1624. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3147. Epub 2017 May 8

10. Schoenbuchner SM, Pettifor JM, Norris SA, Micklesfield LK, Prentice A, Ward KA. Ethnic differences in peripheral skeletal development among urban South African adolescents: a ten-year longitudinal pQCT study J Bone Miner Res. 2017 Dec;32(12):2355-2366. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3279. Epub 2017 Oct 9.

11. Crabtree NJ, Shaw NJ, Bishop NJ, Adams JE, Mughal MZ, Arundel P, Fewtrell MS, Ahmed SF, Treadgold LA, Hogler W, Bebbington NA, Ward KA and the Alphabet Study Team . Amalgamated Reference Data for Size-Adjusted Bone Densitometry Measurements in 3598 Children and Young Adults-the ALPHABET Study. J Bone Miner Res. 2017 Jan;32(1):172-180. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2935. Epub 2016 Sep 7 Senior author

12. Ward KA, Jarjou L, Prentice A. Long-term effects of maternal calcium supplementation on childhood growth differ between males and females in a population accustomed to a low calcium intake. Bone 2017;3:103:31-38

13. Kuh D, Muthuri SG, Moore A, Cole TJ, Adams JE, Cooper C, Hardy R, Ward KA. Pubertal timing and bone phenotype in early old age: findings from a British birth cohort study. Int J Epidemiol. 2016 Aug;45(4):1113-1124. Epub 2016 Jul 10.

14. Ward KA, Prentice A, Kuh DL, Adams JE, Ambrosini GL. Life Course Dietary Patterns and Bone Health in Later Life in a British Birth Cohort Study. J Bone Miner Res. 2016 Jun;31(6):1167-76. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2798. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

15. Ward KA, Cole TJ, Laskey MA, Ceesay M, Mendy MB, Sawo Y, Prentice A. The effect of prepubertal calcium carbonate supplementation on skeletal development in Gambian boys-a 12-year follow-up study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;99(9):3169-76. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-1150. Epub 2014 Apr 24

16. Prentice AM, Ward KA, Goldberg GR, Jarjou LM, Moore SE, Fulford AJ, Prentice A. Critical windows for nutritional interventions against stunting. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(5):911-8.

17. Ward KA, Das G, Roberts SA, Berry JL, Adams JE, Rawer R, Mughal MZ. A randomized, controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation upon musculoskeletal health in postmenarchal females. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2010 95: 4643-51.

18. Ward KA, Alsop CW, Caulton JM, Rubin CT, Adams JE, Mughal MZ. Low magnitude mechanical loading is osteogenic in children with disabling conditions. Journal of Bone & Mineral Research 2004;19(3):360-369.

Major grants:

  • 2022-2026 Medical Research Council; Musculoskeletal functional ability in three diverse Sub-Saharan Africa Populations; assessing muscle strength & function to understand healthy ageing (MUFASSA) £818,196

  • 2022-2025 Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia PhD studentship; Impact of poor musculoskeletal health on quality of life in older Gambian adults: The Fractures-E3 study £92,000

  • 2021-2026 MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Centre Programme Funding; Musculoskeletal health in Later Life (Cooper £3.4m) ; Early Development and risk of adult musculoskeletal disease (Harvey £1.8m). 2021-2026

  • 2020-2023 PhD Studentship for Ms Farirayi Nyakoko, University of Southampton GCRF part-funding £99,776

  • 2020-24 Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award: Fractures in Sub-Saharan Africa: epidemiology, economic impact and ethnography (FRACTURES-E3), £3.67m

  • 2018-2021 PI from 10/2019 NIHR Global Health Research Grant: The NIHR Global Health Research Group on leveraging improved nutrition preconception, during pregnancy and postpartum in SubSaharan Africa through novel intervention models, Southampton 1000 DaysPlus Global Nutrition, at the University of Southampton (INPreP), £1.8m

  • 2019 - 2022 NIH Trent Fogarty PhD fellowship for Cynthia Mukwasi-Kahari, Co-supervisor, The effect of HIV on trabecular and cortical bone strength, density, geometry and muscle through the lifecourse a pQCT study (in Zimbabwe and South Africa). $78,500 USD

  • 2018 PI Cardiometabolic phenotyping and bone health in midlife and older age: A comparison across ethnic groups. NIHR Southampton Biomedical Reserach PhD Studentship £60,111

  • 2018 PI Sub Saharan Africa Musculoskeletal Network: SAMSON Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Networking Grant £23,950

  • 2018 Co-I Global Challenges Grant Collaborative network for adolescent health and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa and India Medical Research Council £199999

Impact example:

Guidelines for the use of Bone Densitometry: Through the collection of unique UK-reference data for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography work has provided data for the clinical interpretation of bone densitometry scans in children improving the diagnosis and care of children with osteoporosis and poor bone health. Disseminated through National and International networks and associations. Co-authored and led four clinical guidelines of the International Society for Clinical Densitometry.

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