Search for courses or information

Dr Geoffrey P Webb

Senior Lecturer

Medicines Research Group

I have been at UEL for most of my working life. I have a BSc in Physiology and Biochemistry and a PhD from the University of Southampton. In 1986-7 I took a Nutrition MSc at King's College, London and obtained an MSc with distinction and won the Yudkin prize. In 1992, I spent a semester as visiting professor of human nutrition at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Between 1994 & 2002, I was a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Nutrition. I have acted as external examiner at both undergraduate and PhD level. In the first half of my career at UEL, I was active in bench research in the fields of obesity and diabetes mainly using animal models of these conditions. In the latter part of my career I have focused my creative energies upon "desk research" involving writing and researching books, articles and reviews relating to aspects of diet, lifestyle and health. I wrote a monthly column about diet and health for the local newspaper, The Newham Recorder, for about three years. I have spent the last three years researching and writing a book about error and fraud in scientific research.



    I have been at UEL for most of my working life. I have a BSc in Physiology and Biochemistry and a PhD from the University of Southampton. In 1986-7 I took a Nutrition MSc at King's College, London and obtained an MSc with distinction and won the Yudkin prize.

    In 1992, I spent a semester as visiting professor of human nutrition at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Between 1994 & 2002, I was a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Nutrition. I have acted as external examiner at both undergraduate and PhD level.

    In the first half of my career at UEL, I was active in bench research in the fields of obesity and diabetes mainly using animal models of these conditions. In the latter part of my career I have focused my creative energies upon "desk research" involving writing and researching books, articles and reviews relating to aspects of diet, lifestyle and health. I wrote a monthly column about diet and health for the local newspaper, The Newham Recorder, for about three years. I have spent the last three years researching and writing a book about error and fraud in scientific research.

    I was on the editorial board of the British Journal of Nutrition for 8 years including a period as book reviews editor. I have been an external examiner at undergraduate, MSc and PhD level.

    Overview

    Since the late 1980s, I have focused my creative energies into researching and writing books, monographs, academic reviews and critical essays which have been mainly related to aspects of nutrition and weight control. I have also written about several major scientific errors and their consequences, for example:

    •  The promotion of front sleeping for babies in the 1970s and early 1980s that led to a worldwide epidemic of cot deaths that caused tens or hundreds of thousands of extra cot deaths around the world.
    • The almost unanimous belief (1950-1980) that the world was desperately short of protein and that protein malnutrition was the most important cause of worldwide malnutrition. Huge amounts of time effort and resources were expended in trying to solve this illusory problem.
    • The belief that antioxidant supplements given to generally well-nourished people would increase life expectancy and reduce the levels of heart disease and cancer.

    In my recent researches I have concluded that these error examples are symptomatic of a much more general problem with the credibility of much of the research that is published. Some writers have suggested that most of the research that is published is wrong and that up to 85% of research spending is wasted.

    Finally I have prepared detailed case studies of many scientists who have committed research fraud and fabricated their data. Using these case studies I have tried to assess the damage caused by fraudulent research. I have also reviewed the measures that should prevent the publication of fraudulent data (protection), the ways in which fraudulent data is identified after publication (detection) and the way in which fraudulent data and fraudulent authors are dealt with after exposure (disinfection). Using the case studies, I have tried to assess the effectiveness of these measures in keeping the scientific literature free of fraudulent data. 

    Current publications

    • Webb, G. P. (2006) Cot death: the benefits and dangers of health promotion. British Journal of Midwifery. 14. 670.
    • Webb, G.P. (2007) Nutritional supplements and conventional medicine: what should the physician know? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 66, 471-8
    • Webb, G.P. (2006) Dietary supplements and functional foods. Blackwell publishing: Oxford. An academic monograph that discusses the various types of supplements and functional foods within a structured and logical framework. Identifies common themes and principles of supplements in general and particular categories of supplement. A strategic overview approach to each chapter followed by evidence-based assessment of efficacy and safety for the individual supplements and functional foods.
    • Gao, J., Sanchez-Medina, A., Pendry, B.A., Hughes, M.J., Webb, G.P. and Corcoran, O. (2008) Validation of a HPLC method for flavonoid biomarkers in skullcap (Scutellaria) and its use to illustrate wide variability in the quality of commercial tinctures. J. Pharm. Pharmaceutic. Sci 11(1), 77-87.
    • Webb, G.P. (2007) Complementos nutricionales y alimentos funcionales. (Spanish edition of Dietary supplements and functional foods . Editorial Acribia: Zaragoza
    • Webb, G.P. (2007) Naucz sie kontrolowac. Wage ciala za pomoca diety i cwiczen Polish edition of Teach Yourself Weight Control. Bauer-Weltbild Media: Poland
    • Webb, G.P. (2008) Nutrition: a health promotion approach, Third edition. London: Arnold. A revised, updated and extended edition. Now also covers dietary supplements, plant secondary metabolites with extended coverage of functional foods.
    • Webb, G.P. (2009) Interpreting nutritional science - what have we learnt from the past? Nutrition Bulletin 34, 309-315.

    ·                        Webb, G.P. (2011) Dietary supplements and functional foods. 2nd edition. Oxford: Wiley/Blackwell.          http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1444332406.html

    ·       Webb, G.P. (2011) Vitamin fortification of foods: a critical review. Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods 8(1) 1-10.

    ·       Webb, G.P. (2011) Vitamin fortification of foods: a critical review. Food Science and Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods 8(1) 1-10.

    ·                              Webb G.P. (2012) Nutrition: maintaining and improving health. Fourth edition Oxford: CRC Press 

    . http://routledge-ny.com/books/details/9781444142464/

    ·         Webb, GP (2015) Vitamins/minerals as dietary supplements: a review of clinical studies. In Dietary supplements Ed Berginc, K and Kreft,  S. Oxford: Woodhead Publishing. Pp 139-169

    Other scholarly activities

    I maintain a blog relating to my areas of expertise i.e. diet and nutrition, research methods and error in science, research fraud http://drgeoffnutrition.wordpress.com/



    Webb, G. P. (2006) Cot death: the benefits and dangers of health promotion. British Journal of Midwifery. 14. 670.


    Webb, G.P. (2007) Nutritional supplements and conventional medicine: what should the physician know? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 66, 471-8


    Webb, G.P. (2006) Dietary supplements and functional foods. Blackwell publishing: Oxford. An academic monograph that discusses the various types of supplements and functional foods within a structured and logical framework. Identifies common themes and principles of supplements in general and particular categories of supplement. A strategic overview approach to each chapter followed by evidence-based assessment of efficacy and safety for the individual supplements and functional foods.
    Gao, J., Sanchez-Medina, A., Pendry, B.A., Hughes, M.J., Webb, G.P. and Corcoran, O. (2008) Validation of a HPLC method for flavonoid biomarkers in skullcap (Scutellaria) and its use to illustrate wide variability in the quality of commercial tinctures. J. Pharm. Pharmaceutic. Sci 11(1), 77-87.
    Webb, G.P. (2007) Complementos nutricionales y alimentos funcionales. (Spanish edition of Dietary supplements and functional foods . Editorial Acribia: Zaragoza


    Webb, G.P. (2007) Naucz sie kontrolowac. Wage ciala za pomoca diety i cwiczen Polish edition of Teach Yourself Weight Control. Bauer-Weltbild Media: Poland


    Webb, G.P. (2008) Nutrition: a health promotion approach, Third edition. London: Arnold. A revised, updated and extended edition. Now also covers dietary supplements, plant secondary metabolites with extended coverage of functional foods.
    Webb, G.P. (2009) Interpreting nutritional science - what have we learnt from the past? Nutrition Bulletin 34, 309-315.
    Webb, G.P. (in the press) Dietary supplements and functional foods. 2nd edition. Oxford: Wiley/Blackwell.


    Collaborators

    • test

    Research

    Journal publications Webb, G.P. and Taylor, T.G. (1976) The effects of ergosterol on bone mineralization in chicks given cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol. British Poultry Science 17, 509-510.

    Jagot, S.A., Webb, G.P., Rogers, P.D. and Dickerson, J.W.T. (1980) The induction of obesity in the rat with bipiperidyl mustard. . British Journal of Nutrition 44, 253-5.

    Webb, G.P. and Jakobson, M.E. (1980) Body fat of mice and men: a class exercise in theory or practice. Journal of Biological Education, 14, 318-324.

    Jagot, S.A., Dickerson, J.W.T. and Webb, G.P. (1982) Some effects of meal-feeding and consequent weight reduction in obese mice. International Journal of Obesity 6, 443-56.

    Webb, G.P., Jagot, S.A. and Jakobson, M.E. (1982) Fasting-induced torpor in Mus Musculus and its implications in the use of murine models for human obesity studies. Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry 72A, 211-9

    Rogers, P.D. and Webb, G.P. (1982) Cooling to cardiac arrest and resuscitation in anaesthetized rats. The Physiologist 25, 433-7.

    Webb, G.P. (1989) The significance of protein in human nutrition. Journal of Biological Education 23, 119-24.

    Webb, G.P. (1989 August issue) Vitamin D. Which? Way to Health (published by The Consumer’s Association).

    Webb, G.P. (1990 April issue) The great protein myth. Which? Way to Health (published by The Consumer’s Association).

    Webb, G.P. (1990) A selective critique of animal experiments in human-orientated biological research. Journal of Biological Education 24, 191-7.

    Webb, G.P. (1992) A critical survey of methods used to investigate links between diet and disease. Journal of Biological Education, 26(4), 263-271.

    Webb, G.P. and Taylor, T.G. (1977) The effects of ergosterol and adrenalectomy on the maintenance of pregnancy in the ovariectomised rat. Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry 56A, 207-210.

    Webb, G.P. (1994) A survey of fifty years of dietary standards 1943-1993. Journal of Biological Education 28(1), 101-108.

    Webb, G.P. (1995) Sleeping position and cot death: does health promotion always promote health? Journal of Biological Education 29(4), 279-285.

    Beales, P.E., Burr, L.A., Webb, G.P., Mansfield, K.J. and Pozzilli, P. (1999) Diet can influence the ability of nicotinamide to prevent diabetes in the non-obese diabetic mouse: a preliminary study. Diabetes/Metabolism Research Reviews 15, 22-28.

    Webb G.P. (2001) What is osteoporosis? Nursing and residential care. 3, 434-438.

    Webb G.P. (2001) Nutritional supplements: benefits and risks. Nursing and residential care. 3, 477-481.

    Webb G.P (2002) Obesity: a modern epidemic. Nursing and Residential care. 4, 68-73.

    Webb, G.P. (1999) Book review. British Journal of Nutrition. 81, 173-4.

    Webb, G.P. (1999) Book review. British Journal of Nutrition. 82, 331-2.

    Webb, G.P. (2001) Book review. British Journal of Nutrition. 85, 761-2

    Contributions to Symposia Proceedings and Chapters in Books and Books Webb, G.P. (1992) Viewpoint II: Small animals as models for studies on human nutrition. In Nutrition and the consumer. Ed. Walker, A.F. and Rolls, B.A. London: Elsevier Applied Science. pp. 279-297. An evaluation of the benefits of animal studies and their potential to mislead those primarily interested in human nutrition with examples of past “errors” caused by faulty extrapolation from animal studies.

    Webb, G.P. and Taylor, T.G. (1976) The effects of ergosterol on the response of female chicks to oral oestrogens and progestagens. British Poultry Science 18, 543-545.

    Webb, G.P. (1995) Nutrition: a health promotion approach. London: Arnold. A fairly comprehensive introductory nutrition text focussing particularly upon the role of diet in promoting and maintaining health in industrialised countries.

    Webb, G.P. (1998) Nutricion. Una alternativa para promover la salud. Zaragoza: Editorial Acribia. Spanish edition of Nutrition: a health promotion approach

    Webb, G.P. and Copeman, J (1996) The nutrition of older adults. London: Arnold/Age Concern. A wide-ranging review of the nutritional needs, priorities and problems experienced by older people. Focuses not only upon the physiological and biochemical aspects of nutrition but also upon social, demographic and economic factors affecting diet and nutrition in later life.

    Webb, G.P. (1998) TEACH YOURSELF Weight control through diet and exercise. London: Hodder & Stoughton. Offers real facts and realistic advice about dieting and weight control. Gives a safe and effective strategy for long term weight control with clear explanations of the reasoning behind this approach.

    Webb, G.P. ( 2003) TEACH YOURSELF Weight control through diet and exercise A modest updating of the first edition as part of the general re-launch of the Teach Yourself series.

    Webb, G.P. (2005) Control del Peso Amat editorial: Barcelona. Spanish edition of Teach Yourself Weight Control.

    Webb, G.P. (2002) Nutrition: a health promotion approach, Second edition. London: Arnold. A major updating, expansion and re-writing of the first edition. Consists of 17 chapters and 450+ quarto, double column pages. From social and cultural aspects of food choice to physiological and biochemical roles of nutrients, to food microbiology to epidemiology to health promotion theory.

    Rogers, P.D., Webb, G.P. and Jagot, S.A. (1979) Increased adiposity in gold thioglucose treated mice without excessive weight gain. IRCS Medical Science 7, 402.

    Webb, G.P., Rogers, P.D. and Jagot, S.A. (1979) The effects of sucrose availability on food intake in normal and obese mice. IRCS Medical Science 7, 538.

    Webb, G.P., Rogers, P.D. and Jagot, S.A. (1979) Satiety due to glucose injection in normal and obese mice. IRCS Medical Science 7, 539.

    Jagot, S.A., Webb, G.P., Rogers, P.D. and Dickerson, J.W.T. (1980) Estimation of body fat content in normal, chemically-obese and obese-hyperglycaemic mice. IRCS Medical Science 8, 93-94.

    Webb, G.P., Jagot, S.A., Rogers, P.D. and Dickerson, J.W.T. (1980) The effects of fasting on thermoregulation in normal and obese mice. IRCS Medical Science 8, 163-4.

    Rogers, P.D. and Webb, G.P. (1980) Estimation of body fat in normal and obese mice. British Journal of Nutrition 43, 83-86.

    Publications


    Funding


    In the late 1970s and 1980s I led an obesity research group using animal models of obesity.  I supervised two successful PhDs during this period. Perhaps the most important achievement of this research group was to unequivocally confirm that mice become torpid when fasted and that torpor occurs without fasting in genetically obese (ob/ob) mice. We correctly predicted that humans with the same genetic defect would have normal thermoregulation and that theories of defective thermoregulation being a major cause of human obesity were probably incorrect.

    Since the late 1980s, I have focused my creative energies into researching and writing books, monographs, academic reviews and critical essays which have been mainly related to aspects of nutrition and weight control. I have also written about several major scientific errors and their consequences, for example:

    •  The promotion of front sleeping for babies in the 1970s and early 1980s that led to a worldwide epidemic of cot deaths that caused tens or hundreds of thousands of extra cot deaths around the world.
    • The almost unanimous belief (1950-1980) that the world was desperately short of protein and that protein malnutrition was the most important cause of worldwide malnutrition. Huge amounts of time effort and resources were expended in trying to solve this illusory problem.
    • The belief that antioxidant supplements given to generally well-nourished people would increase life expectancy and reduce the levels of heart disease and cancer.

    In my recent researches I have concluded that these error examples are symptomatic of a much more general problem with the credibility of much of the research that is published. Some writers have suggested that most of the research that is published is wrong and that up to 85% of research spending is wasted.

    Finally I have prepared detailed case studies of many scientists who have committed research fraud and fabricated their data. Using these case studies I have tried to assess the damage caused by fraudulent research. I have also reviewed the measures that should prevent the publication of fraudulent data (protection), the ways in which fraudulent data is identified after publication (detection) and the way in which fraudulent data and fraudulent authors are dealt with after exposure (disinfection). Using the case studies, I have tried to assess the effectiveness of these measures in keeping the scientific literature free of fraudulent data..


    Interests

    Portfolio




    I contribute to most programmes within the Biosciences subject area including the programmes in:-

    biomedical sciences
    pharmacology
    medical physiology.
    Member of the Nutrition Society 

    Teaching