Host organisation: Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Heinrich Heine University, Germany
Project title: Modulation of Endophytic Fungi Associated with Nigerian Medicinal Plants for Improved Biosynthesis of Secondary Metabolites
Dr Peter Eze is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Environmental Health Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. His research has been focused on the characterization and epidemiology of multidrug resistant organisms in South-Eastern Nigeria, natural products drug research and molecular biology. He is also a member of the Natural Products Drug Discovery Unit of his university where they are currently researching on the ‘‘Isolation and characterization of Pharmacologically Active Secondary Metabolites from Endophytic Fungi Associated with Nigerian Medicinal Plants’’.
“The search for new drug molecules is of utmost importance as diseases, including cancer, are constantly developing resistance to existing drugs. Several studies have revealed the enormous potential which abounds in endophytic fungi as sources of novel molecules of pharmaceutical importance.”
AREF Fellowship research project:
As part of his Fellowship, Dr Eze expects to identify and exploit endophytic fungi of Nigerian plants with the ability to produce novel biologically active compounds with antimicrobial and anticancer potentials; and to manipulate these fungi and their environment to facilitate the increased production of specific bioactive metabolites of interest. It is expected that his research will yield compounds which will be active either against bacteria, fungi, mycobacterium, or cancerous cells; and these compounds will possess the potential to be developed for use in the treatment of infectious or cancerous diseases.
During his placement at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Heinrich Heine University (HHU) in Düsseldorf, Germany, Dr Eze will work with Professor Rainer Kalscheuer who will provide laboratory space, guidance and research materials. At the end of the placement, Dr Eze’s home institution, though Professor Charles Esimone and Professor Festus Okoye, will provide the platform for his re-integration, including the support needed for further experimentation or analyses of results, reporting and publication of findings.
“My research at HHU will contribute towards addressing Africa’s developmental health challenges, especially those related to multidrug-resistant microorganisms and cancer.”