Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

Geology researcher wins international photographic contest
2017-06-02

Description: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva Tags: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva

In this winning photo, “Movement of the ancient sand”,
Dr Matthew Huber, postdoctoral research fellow in the
Department of Geology at UFS, is scaling an outcrop
of sandstone (former sand dunes) in the Zion National
Park in the US.
Photo: Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva


Dr Elizaveta Kovaleva and Dr Matthew Huber, postdoctoral research fellows in the Department of Geology at the University of the Free State (UFS), attended the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly in Vienna, Austria in April 2017, where Dr Kovaleva was declared a winner of the EGU photo contest with a photograph entitled “Movement of the ancient sand”.

Submitting the winning photo
Each participant could submit up to three photos to participate in the contest before the conference. From all the photographs 10 were selected and displayed for the entire week at the assembly so participants could vote for their three favourite photos. At the end of the week three winners were selected. The prize winners received a free EGU book of their choice, free registration for next year’s EGU and an option to judge the photo competition next year. The photos will be printed on postcards next year, so all participants can send them wherever they want around the globe.

“The picture was taken in the Zion National Park in the US. Myself and Dr Huber were travelling around the western states, visiting national parks. The person in the picture is Dr Huber,” said Dr Kovaleva.

Dr Kovaleva was also invited to participate - as a recently published author - in a workshop, called: ”Publishing in EGU journals: Solid Earth and Earth Surface Dynamics – Meet the Editors”.

At the assembly, Dr Kovaleva attended sessions on Tectonics and Structural Geology as well as on Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology and Volcanology. These sessions were especially interesting in the scope of her research and are directly related to it. “I am a metamorphic petrologist, and with my PhD, I essentially studied microstructures. At the moment, I am studying the Vredefort impact crater, which has experienced both metamorphism and deformation,” she said.

“The winning photos will be printed on postcards,
so all participants can send them wherever they
want around the globe”.

Building scientific connections
For both researchers, the assembly was an opportunity to meet former colleagues and professors from universities all over the world and shake hands with authors whose papers and work they were familiar with, but had never met in person.

“EGU is a perfect opportunity to build scientific connections and relationships, advertise your research and start new collaborations and projects,” said Dr Kovaleva.

The EGU General Assembly 2017 was a great success, with 4 849 oral, 11 312 poster, and 1 238 PICO presentations. Some 649 unique scientific sessions, together with 88 short courses and 322 side events, created an interesting programme. At the conference 14 496 scientists from 107 countries participated, of whom 53% were under the age of 35. Thirty one were from South Africa.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept