Areas of expertise

  • Agrifood Systems
  • Food Quality
  • Food Safety


Dr Verheecke-Vaessen obtained her PhD in mycotoxin-related research in 2014 and was awarded the best innovative PhD by the Federal University of Toulouse (France - 2015). Prior to her PhD, she had industrial experience including the development of Decision Support Systems for post-harvest management of stored cereals and liaison coordinator with food chain transformers. She then worked for two years as a temporary research and teaching attaché at the Ecole National Supérieur Agronomique de Toulouse (France) prior to joining the Applied Mycology group at Cranfield University in 2016.

Since joining Cranfield, Carol has developed her own research vision focusing on a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning fungal secondary metabolites (including mycotoxins) production with a specific focus on how environmental factors, including climate change, trigger these mechanisms. Since 2016, she has been involved in several teaching and research projects (for e.g.: Oats for the future, NutriNuts, Gender-equal mycotoxin training) to improve the full supply chain management of mycotoxin. Carol has published more than 40 peer-reviewed journals research papers and 4 book chapters.

In 2021, Carol obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from Cranfield University and became the Director of Mycotoxin Training Hub developing tailored training and research opportunities to tackle specific mycotoxin challenges faced by the agrifood industry in the UK and worldwide.

Current activities

Dr Carol Verheecke-Vaessen has focused her research interests on deciphering the stimuli (abiotic or biotic) involved in the triggering of mycotoxins production to reduce the community exposure of these toxigenic compounds. Her research covers a while portfolio of activities from food contamination assessment to deciphering the fundamental mechanisms involved using state of the art molecular and analytical techniques.

She has more than 13 years of experience in this research topic.

Her current interest are:

Developing holistic solutions from farm to fork to manage mycotoxin risk;

Understanding dynamic abiotic and biotic factors impacting fungal growth and mycotoxin production within the Agrifood chain - including climate change scenario;

Creating solutions for detection and prevention of fungal contaminants;

Developing of Decision Support Systems to improve the storage of commodities susceptible to fungal spoilage;

Developing bio-control agents in response to Agrifood challenges;

Creating innovative solutions to transform food waste into profitable by-products.

She is currently involved in the Agrifood MSc suite of courses. She mainly lectures on the MSc in Food Systems & Management with a special focus on the Food Safety Quality Management and Certification where she manages the laboratories activities, gives lectures and more recently was responsible for the hybrid teaching conversion for a CoVid19 safe environment.

Her other tasks include supervision of PhD, MSc and visiting student projects.


  • Research England
  • Innovate UK
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers