photoDavid A Bendermonogram


Emeritus Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, University College London

email :

Click here for a podcast of my inaugural lecture on February 25th 2010, introduced by Prof Mary Collins, Dean of Life Sciences. Open this with PowerPoint, then set it to a slide show. As the sound for each slide finishes, click to go to the next slide.

My research activities have been in the field of tryptophan, niacin and vitamin B6 nutrition and metabolism

The nutritional equivalence of dietary tryptophan and preformed niacin; the synthesis of NAD from tryptophan, and the ways in which disturbance of tryptophan metabolism may lead to the development of pellagra, despite an apparently adequate intake of tryptophan and preformed niacin;
The effects of steroid hormones on tryptophan metabolism and vitamin B6 nutritional status;
The role of vitamin B6 in modulating steroid hormone action.

See the links under "Publications and cv" above for a list of my books, research publications and reviews, and my full cv.


I consider that teaching nutrition and metabolism at University College London has been my main occupation. I had a major commitment to the basic science course for Medical students, and I also taught on courses for Biochemistry and other students. After retirement in 2011, I continue to give lectures on the MBBS course, a third year Biochemistry course and the MSc in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition at UCL, as well as lectures to the MSc in Nutritional Medicine at Surrey University.

Because of my interest in teaching the scientific basis of medicine, and hopefully inculcating in my students the attitudes and patterns of thought that will lead to them becoming practitioners of evidence based medicine, I am a trustee and secretary of HealthWatch, a non-profit organisation and registered charity that is dedicated to promoting the rigorous testing of both conventional and unconventional therapies and treatments, so enhancing informed choice through reliable information.

One of my innovations in teaching was the use of computers in various ways - see the links under "Computers in teaching" above for information about my programs, most of which can be downloaded free of charge under a creative commons licence. Metabolism on-line can be run directly.

Having retired, I now find more time for leisure activities, to indulge my interests in:

Travel - there are still plenty of places we haven't visited.

map of where we have beenScientific meetings have always been a good excuse to travel and if there is no meeting then I will travel anyway. Since retirement, there is, of course, much more time to travel.

You can see the photographs from many of our travels under the "Photo galleries" link above







Ken and I live in Amersham, and we are fortunate to have quite a large garden, which always needs attention of some kind. It has been designed so that it is interesting when viewed from ground level, and is especially tempting when viewed from my study window.

The 19 100-year old lime and sycamore trees on two sides provide a splendid screen, and an almost endless supply of leaf litter in autumn. Our tropical fish indoors and koi carp, etc in the garden pond provide a splendid way of wasting time - we can sit and watch them, and the varied birdlife of the garden, for hours.

Click here for some thoughts on gardening for, with or against wildlife

Click here for the garden birdlist.

Having kept the promise to Ken (and myself) that I would not take on any new committees for at least a year after retirement, I have now become treasurer and webmaster of Amersham Gardening Association, and a committee membr of, and webmaster for, Chiltern U3A.

Wildlife and natural history

It is obvious from what I have said about the garden, that I have an interest in wildlife and natural history. I am an honorary vice-president of the Selborne Society , which owns and manages Perivale Wood Local Nature Reserve, a 27 acre ancient woodland in west London, and although I only get to the reserve occasionally, I still maintain the website.

University of the third age (U3A)

I sometimes rudely call U3A a youth club for senile delinquents, but that is not true. As soon as I was eligible I joined Chiltern U3A, attracted by the wide range of activities offered. To date I go to meetings of the photographic, digital imaging, wildlife, and science and technology groups, and as many of the walks of 4 - 6 miles with the walkers group as possible, as well as outings with the garden interest group (whose indoor meetings in winter clash with the photography group). With more than 100 groups meeting at least once a month, it is unavoidable that there will be clashes and many people are torn between two (or more) things they would like to attend.

I put my head above the parapet when the webmaster of Chiltern U3A retired, and have taken that on board. Many people think that this is a heavy workload, but I can easily reply by saying that members of U3A are considerably less demanding of immediate service in the middle of the night than medical students are - for several years I maintained the virtual learning environment for the first two years of the medical course at UCL - at a time when, unlike since my retirement, there was no administrative backup for the role.


After all the years of having a darkroom in the loft or in a spare room, or one corner of my study (using the bath to wash prints and carrying trays of developer between rooms), we now have a "spare" bathroom that I could use as a darkroom with running water - but I no longer need or want one. I have been converted to digital photography. Apart from the chance to manipulate (or fake) photographs, there is no clearing up at the end of a session, and no need to carry on because "there is still life in the developer and it would be a shame to waste it". It is still odd to plan a trip without making sure I have bought film.

You can see the photographs from many of our travels under the "Photo galleries" link above

Food and wine

cocktailsPerhaps I can call it nutrition research when I eat at a good restaurant. I also enjoy cooking, which perhaps I can call practical nutrition - although I must admit that I am more artistic than scientific in the kitchen.





Classical music and theatre

One of the great benefits of living near London is the rich variety of theatres and concert halls available. We sometimes go to small experimental theatre - but as a scientist I know that it is pointless to continue with an unsuccessful experiment, and we leave in the interval if the experiment is a failure. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an excellent opportunity for theatre, although 3 - 4 shows a day for 10 days (as in summer 2009 and again in 2017 for a week) can be a little exhausting.


This page updated February 27, 2023