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Richard Bruckdorfer obituary


My friend and colleague Richard Bruckdorfer, who has died aged 78 of a brain tumour, was emeritus professor of biochemistry at University College London and an internationally recognised expert in the field of oxidative stress, nitric oxide and free radical science.

His work, published in more than 200 papers, explored translational biology, spanning research and application in such areas as autoimmune disease – particularly scleroderma, cardiovascular disease and Raynaud’s disease.

Richard was born in Llangollen, north Wales, to Emily (nee Rastall), a dinner lady, and her husband, Karl Bruckdorfer, a fitter. He went to Sir John Deane’s grammar school in Northwich, Cheshire, and then studied biochemistry at the University of Liverpool, gaining his degree in 1964, followed by a PhD in 1967 and, much later, a DSc in 1991.

From 1967 to 1972 he held research fellowships at the Universities of Utrecht and Munich and then Queen Elizabeth College, London, before joining the biochemistry department of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London.

In 1998, when the Royal Free merged with University College, Richard became a professor and head of department. He also served on committees of the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Medicine, organised conferences and spoke at international meetings. A sociable man, he loved to organise departmental parties, at which he would sort out the barbecue and lead the karaoke.

After retirement Richard enjoyed life at his home in Whipsnade, Bedfordshire, and sang in the Luton Choral Society. A member of the Verulam Writers’ Circle, he was a prolific writer of short stories and one complete novel.

He was also strongly political, and recently chaired the South West Bedfordshire constituency Labour party. He founded and chaired the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine branch of the Association of University Teachers, and was chair of Luton Sixth Form College from 1992 to 1995.

Richard’s first marriage, to Marie Short, ended in divorce, and his second wife, Lynn (nee Clark), died in 2008. He is survived by his partner, Sue Wellstood-Eason, two daughters, Anna and Helen, from his first marriage, and five grandchildren.



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