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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

UFS mathematician rates as top reviewer
2017-09-27

Description: Abdon Atanaga Tags: pre-publication peer reviews, Prof Abdon Atangana, Institute for Groundwater Studies, Publons for Publons Peer Review Awards 

Prof Abdon Atangana is a professor at the
Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University
of the Free State.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

South Africa was included in the top 30 countries in terms of researchers who added the most pre-publication peer reviews. 

Prof Abdon Atangana, a professor of Applied Mathematics at the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), is included in the list of top reviewers from top countries, as determined by the number of verified pre-publication peer reviews added to Publons for Publons Peer Review Awards 2017.  

Producing the most verified peer reviews

He rated in the top 1% of reviewers (9th), in all fields, who performed the most verified pre-publication peer reviews at Publons for Publons Peer Review Awards 2017. In 2017 he also received the following awards:
- Top reviewers for UFS in the category Mathematics, rating in eighth place. In this category Stanford University rated second. Rating in ninth place is the University of Luxembourg.
- Top reviewers for Mathematics (rating 1st). In this category the Southern Illinois University and the Johns Hopkins University in the US rated in 27th and 25th place respectively. 
- Top reviewers for Engineering (rating 47th)

Prof Atangana’s research interests are methods and applications of partial and ordinary differential equations, fractional differential equations, perturbation methods, asymptotic methods, iterative methods, and groundwater modelling.

Passion for the development of science
Key to his success as peer reviewer is his passion for the development of science, his ability to write fair reports about a given manuscript, as well as his knowledge of what has been done and what the challenges are in a given field to be able to give a report that will help the advancement of science. 

“Due to the impact of my research papers in the field of mathematics and applied mathematics and also my international recognition in the field of applied mathematics, many editors in more than 100 journals of applied mathematics trust my opinion to assess whether a submitted paper in a given journal of mathematics and applied mathematics can be published or not,” said Prof Atangana.

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