From 1971-2009 he was Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University (now Emeritus Professor), where he taught and conducted laboratory-based research on food-borne parasitic infections. He continued his interest in photomicrography, collaborating with the internationally recognized microscopist, Eric Gravé, to produce many of the 417 figures for the textbook, Parasitic Diseases. When that book went to full color format, Despommier produced the majority of the photomicrographs for editions 3-5.
Throughout his research career, he was fortunate enough to travel extensively, presenting at national and international scientific meetings on various aspects of his research. He always carried a camera, and over the years collected a large number of images. In the late 1980s, his attention turned to the artistic side of photography, and he began studying the subject on his own. He joined the International Center for Photography. In 2005, he was encouraged to enter the September edition of the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit in New York City. His photograph, Portals, a non-digital image, was awarded first place for photography. The WSOAE is juried by the Salmagundi Art Club of New York, and that same year the SACNY invited him to become a member.
Since joining WSOAE, he has participated in numerous group exhibits and one man shows (SACNY, New York Art Club, Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Catskill Flyfishing Center and Museum, Pfizer, Inc., Coogan’s Restaurant, Columbia University Faculty Club, Annual Community Art Exhibit hosted by Columbia University), and has sold a number of works of art: watercolors and photographs. In 2007, he won the The Joseph Hartley SACNY Award for his digital image, Mocca Latte Water Buffalo (insert link here). He has also been awarded numerous second and third places, and honorable mentions, mostly for his photography. His artwork hangs in commercial establishments, and has sold images to private collectors.
Since retiring from academic life in 2009, he and his wife, Marlene Bloom, an accomplished artist in her own right, have traveled and photographed their way throughout The United States, Canada, Europe, South Asia, South East Asia, and South America. His enduring passion for trout fishing continues to take him to beautiful rivers and streams.
Many themes occur throughout his work, but most deal with landscapes, the urban environment, plants, local markets, and portraits. He has recently discovered the art of high resolution digital scanning, concentrating on objects such as salmon and trout flies, flowers, and fallen leaves.