Paul W. Kachapulula is a Plant Pathologist and a member of the faculty of the University of Zambia. Mr. Kachapulula earned his Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Zambia and a Master's degree in Crop Sciences and Plant Pathology from Makerere University in Uganda. He is currently on study leave pursuing a PhD in Plant Pathology at the University of Arizona. His doctoral research is aimed at reducing aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts, important staples in his home country Zambia. This entails understanding the process by which crops become infected, characterizing the etiologic agents and evaluating the efficacy of biological control strategies. He hopes that his research will help contribute to the improvement in production, income, and food security among smallholder farmers and their communities.
Mr. Kachapulula believes that food security is not just tied to increasing yields but also reducing losses in quality and quantity of agricultural produce. He has conducted research on various disease diseases with the aim of preventing losses and is also interested in reducing mycotoxins, which are fungal metabolites associated with liver cancer, immune suppression, stunted growth and can also result in trade reduction. As a lecturer at the University of Zambia, his role was training future researchers and providing solutions to diseases problems faced by farmers. He plans on working with his mentors during his fellowship to enhance his leadership skills and expand his knowledge base so that he can serve as an example to those currently studying and working in his field of study.
During this fellowship, Mr. Kachapulula will be working with top mycotoxin researchers Dr. Peter. J. Cotty of USDA/University of Arizona and Dr. Ranajit Bandyopadhyay of IITA in Nigeria. Dr. Cotty is a Research Plant Pathologist and Lead Scientist for the Agricultural Research Service at the USDA and lead researcher at the USDA laboratory-based School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he also serves as an Adjunct Professor. He will provide vast insights into population biology and physiology of aflatoxin-producing fungi and the management of aflatoxin contamination. Dr. Bandyopadhyay is a senior plant pathologist at IITA who is focusing on, among other things, a broad spectrum of plant diseases and possible biological controls, policy and institutional issues, and diagnostics and integrated management of aflatoxins. Paul Kachapulula expects to complete his PhD in May 2017.