Dr. Peter Eze visited the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology in frame of the StayConnected@HHU Programme

In 2016 Dr. Peter M. Eze obtained his PhD in Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Nigeria.

In frame of the "Research Alumni Staff Exchange" of the StayConnected@HHU Programme of the Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center (JUNO), Dr. Eze spent a three months research stay at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology at HHU between July and September 2017.

Dr. Eze is working on the project entitled 'The Modulation of Endophytic Fungi Associated with Nigerian Medicinal Plants for Improved Biosynthesis of Secondary Metabolites' under the supervision of Prof. Peter Proksch.

Peter Eze, Foto: © Susana Mogollón

This is not your first time working and researching at HHU: What motivated you this time to apply for the Researcher Alumni Programme?

I was here in June 2015 for six months and worked on my PhD under Prof. Proksch's supervision. This was a very interesting experience. It was my first international experience as a researcher and the first time I left Nigeria. I got exposed to a more complex research methodology and enjoyed the privilege of working under Prof. Proksch. He is a great scientist and a wonderful person. This second time has been a great opportunity for my research area and to continue working on the project that brought up many results but also new things to look into.

What is the most exciting thing about working and researching at HHU?

Here at HHU, the work conditions and the environment are very different; the materials are at your disposal and you get so much work done! When you finish a project, you get interesting results and you go even further as you planned.

Could you please tell us a little bit more about this research project?

I am working on endophytic fungi associated with Nigerian medicinal plants. Most antibiotics are extracted from fungi, e.g. penicillin, from fungus Penicillium. Now we are exploring fungi that live in certain plants that grow in Nigeria, like Carica papaya or Loranthus micranthus. When we isolate the fungi inside, we screen them and focus on the most interesting one. Our goal is to identify and explore endophytic fungi of Nigerian plants with the ability to produce bioactive metabolites with antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral, and anticancer potentials.

Could you describe a day at the HHU lab? Are there certain research results you are expecting to get?

The day never ends, unless you get tired. There is always something to do. A lot of experiments run simultaneously, so there is not actual routine for me and I also take seminars twice a week.

Of course, I expect a lot of results while I'm here. This project represents very straight forward research, my current research is driven by the results I'll get. I've already started recording some of the results I get and these determine the next steps.

Are there already plans for a future cooperation with Prof. Proksch and HHU? Would you like to come back to Düsseldorf?

Prof. Proksch and the Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka have always had a relationship, even before I came into the picture. And this relationship and cooperation between these two institutions will continue. I have also established a personal relationship with him and other members of this lab. I would love to come back!

What could we do to make the research cooperation with HHU even better? How would you like to keep in touch with the HHU?

Well, everything went really smooth. I haven't had such a speedy application process before! I really appreciate the work JUNO is doing, as soon as I summitted my application, it was acknowledged and in less than two weeks I got an answer. I was not the usual bureaucratic way that I had expected. From the moment I got the funding until I arrived in Düsseldorf, the correspondence was great. JUNO had everything arranged for me and I will always treasure this opportunity.

Interview by Susana Mogollón in August 2017.

Personal Details

Dr. Peter Eze


2007 -
Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.

2012 -
Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

2016 -
PhD in Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.
Thesis: Modulation of a Lichen-Associated Fungus for Improved Biosynthesis and Isolation of Secondary Metabolites from Two Endophytic Fungi

Publications in cooperation with Prof. Proksch and the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology

Hao Wang, Blessing O. Umeokoli, Peter Eze, Christian Heering, Christoph Janiak, Werner E.G. Müller, Raha S. Orfali, Rudolf Hartmann, Haofu Dai, Wenhan Lin, Zhen Liu, Peter Proksch (2017). Secondary Metabolites of the Lichen-Associated Fungus Apiospora montagnei. Tetrahedron Letters.

Sherif S. Ebada, Peter Eze, Festus B. C. Okoye, Charles O. Esimone, and Peter Proksch (2016). The Fungal Endophyte Nigrospora oryzae Produces Quercetin Monoglycosides Previously Known Only from Plants. Chemistry Select. 1:2767 – 2771.

Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center