Dr. Chibundu N. Ezekiel holds BSc Microbiology (First Class Honours) from Babcock University (Nigeria), MSc Microbiology and PhD Mycology/Mycotoxicology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His research focuses on food safety, fungal diversity and taxonomy, and mycotoxins. He has contributed, through cutting-edge research, to the understanding of the recent prevalence of mycotoxins in food and feed in Africa and the underlying factors that contribute to increased mycotoxin occurrence in staple crops on the continent. As a mycologist, he led the development of technical solutions in the form of validating a low-cost microbiological medium for use in resource-scarce regions (e.g. Africa) - the medium facilitates rapid and easy identification and differentiation of aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus species commonly found in African soils and food crops. He is presently studying the diversity and taxonomy of food- and agricultural soil-borne moulds in Nigeria using a robust polyphasic characterization approach. Consequently, he is collector and author of several novel fungal species described as: three novel aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus species (A. aflatoxiformans, A. austwickii and A. cerealis) and one member of the Fusarium fujikuroi Species Complex African Clade (F. madaense). In order to understand mycotoxin co-exposure patterns and the impact of interventions to effectively lower potential health risks in the African populace, especially among children, Chibundu conducts mycotoxin bio-monitoring and exposure assessment studies in humans. He was part of a team of researchers that developed novel liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometric methods for the simultaneous quantification of multiple mycotoxins in human breast milk and urine. His research also explores the role of traditional food processing methods, especially those employed in African fermented foods, in food quality and mycotoxin mitigation.
Chibundu has several original research articles and chapters, mostly in high impact peer reviewed journals. He has served the African continent in the position of Technical Advisor for the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa program of the African Union Commission (AUC) at her Headquarters in Addis Ababa. As Technical Advisor at the AUC, he provided technical and policy-oriented advice on food safety/mycotoxin issues to several country governments and the continental diplomatic community. Chibundu had been Visiting Scientist on the aflatoxin mitigation project of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture - the focal CGIAR center on aflatoxin mitigation in Africa. While on this position, he led and successfully implemented a Euro 60,000 project. He was post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics (iBAM, formerly Center for Analytical Chemistry), Department of Agrobiotechnology (IFA Tulln) of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Austria. At present, he is Associate Professor of Food Microbiology & Mycotoxicology at Babcock University and supervises undergraduate (BSc) and graduate (MSc, MPhil and PhD) students at Babcock University. Additionally, he co-supervises graduate (MSc and PhD) students at Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (Nigeria) and University of Vienna (Austria). He is external examiner for Masters students at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa), and for PhD candidates at the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST, Tanzania).
Chibundu is an active member of several scientific bodies locally and internationally, and a reviewer for several high impact journals including Archives of Toxicology, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Environment International, Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, Food and Chemical Toxicology, Food Chemistry, Food Research International, Food Reviews International, Frontiers in Microbiology, Heliyon, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Journal of Chromatography B, Journal of Food Safety, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, The Lancet Global Health, The Lancet Planetary Health, Mycotoxin Research, Scientific Reports (a Nature publishing group journal), The World Mycotoxin Journal, and Toxicon. In addition, he is expert reviewer for two funding organizations: International Foundation of Science (IFS) and the French National Research Agency (ANR). He is widely traveled and has received several awards, research and travel grants; a few to be mentioned: (a) European Union MycoRed WP 8.2.7 Short Term Visiting Research Fellowship for his doctoral studies; (b) United States Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) special (Bourlog) travel grant; (c) the Collaborative research grant from Babcock University and the Lower Austrian Government through the University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences (IFA-Tulln) Austria; (d) IFS Individual Researcher grant for research and equipment purchase; (e) Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) President's Fund; (f) SfAM Students' into Work grant; (g) SfAM Research Support grant; (h) ERASMUS Academic Mobility Grant. He is passionate about capacity building among younger scientists and promotion of science through cutting-edge research.