Little is known about Ford's background, but her thick, charming accent indicated that she was definitely Scottish. Her designation as ship physician and her work with Dr. Shaw on the alien head would place her education among any number of medicinal, biological and/or anatomical sciences. Her place on the elite crew of the USCSS Prometheus also meant that she was the best-qualified individual in whatever area(s) her expertise lay.
Ford was hired by the Weyland Corporation to partake in an expedition aboard the USCSS Prometheus to the distant moon LV-223. After spending two years in hypersleep, Ford, along with the other crew members, were awakened. As the Prometheus neared LV-223, she and the others were briefed by Vickers, Shaw and Holloway on their mission to find the Engineers. Once the Prometheus landed on LV-223, the team (consisting of Shaw, Holloway, David 8, Millburn, Jackson, Fifield and Ford herself) entered and began to explore a large artificial structure near the landing site. While inside the "pyramid", the team came across a water-related terraforming system that made the air within the temple perfectly breathable, with Ford commenting that it was even cleaner than Earth's. As the team made their way deeper into the tunnels, David activated a hologram that led them to the preserved remains of a decapitated Engineer, the head of which they discovered in a room behind the door that severed it.
Due to the team's tampering, the environment inside the room began change dramatically, forcing Ford and Shaw to isolate and preserve the Engineer's head for research. While the team rushed back to the Prometheus to avoid an approaching windstorm, Ford accidentally dropped the Engineer's head in her haste, leading Shaw to risk her life in the storm to recover it.
Ford later assisted Shaw in examining the Engineer's head. Ford used a synapse reestablisher to awaken dormant neurons in the brain tissue in order to learn more about it. While it succeeded at first, it backfired shortly after and caused the Engineer's head to (literally) explode.
After Shaw was infected by a creature during her intercourse with Holloway (who was infected by the black liquid), Ford was ordered to prepare her for hypersleep. Ford tried to awaken the unconscious Shaw by slapping her cheeks repeatedly, only to be knocked out by Shaw by surprise.
Ford later accompanied Peter Weyland and his team to awaken and meet the Last Engineer within the complex. The Engineer reacted hostilely toward the team and began to kill them one by one. In her shock and horror, Ford froze where she stood, allowing the Engineer to deliver a brutal blow to the chest, crushing ("destroying" would also be an accurate word) her sternum and sending her flying backward and onto the floor, where she died within seconds.