Michael D. Ward received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the William Paterson College of New Jersey in 1977 and his Ph.D. degree at Princeton University in 1981. He was a Welch postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas, Austin, between 1981 and 1982. He joined the research staff at Standard Oil of Ohio in Cleveland in 1982, and in 1984 he became a member of the research staff at the Dupont Central Research and Development Laboratories in Wilmington, Delaware. Ward joined the faculty of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota in 1990, where he held a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry. Ward was named a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in 1999, and he was the Director of the University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) from 1998 – 2005.

He recently moved to New York University, located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, where is developing the newly established Molecular Design Institute within the Department of Chemistry and is the Director of the new NSF-supported NYU Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. He was appointed as a Silver Professor by NYU in 2008 and as Chair of the Department of Chemistry in 2009. Ward also has served as an Editor for the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials since 1998. His research interests include organic solid-state chemistry, crystal engineering, functional organic materials, crystallization, polymorphism, the role of biominerals in biomedicine and disease, organic epitaxy, atomic force microscopy, and electrochemistry.