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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's international advisory board holds first meeting
2009-11-28

Members of the International Advisory Board of the UFS in discussion with Prof. Dennis Francis (right), who is appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Education from the beginning of 2010. With him are Prof. Alice Pell from Cornell University in the USA and Dr Uri Ofir from Evalnet in Switzerland.
Photo:  Leatitia Pienaar


The International Advisory Board of the University of the Free State (UFS) had its first meeting on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein this week. It coincided with the launch of the six research clusters of the UFS.

Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director: Internationalisation at the UFS, says internationalisation is a strategic priority to reach the University’s strategic goals. Internationalisation will bring a global awareness at all levels and will serve as a co-shaping factor and an instrument to produce well-rounded, internationally competent staff and students. It will also be an instrument to promote diversity, advance the UFS’s international standing and initiate and promote international collaborative research.

The advisory board will advise and guide the UFS leadership in the internationalisation process. He said the board would provide strategic guidance to the internationalisation efforts of the UFS and bring cutting-edge expertise to bear on the internationalisation policies, strategies and action plans of the institution.

Its members will help ensure that the University leadership is aware of relevant international trends and opportunities, and the board will use their experience to advise on appropriate actions. They will also act as advocates for the University in their own spheres of influence.

The board consists of Dr Jane Knight of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada; Prof. Alice Pell of the Cornell University, USA; Prof. Masafumi Nagao of the International Christian University, Japan; Dr Khotso Mokhele of Impala Platinum Holdings, South Africa; Prof. Joseph Stetar of the Seton Hall University, USA; and Dr Uri Ofir of Evalnet, Switzerland. Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, is the Chairperson of the board.

Prof. Stroebel says the UFS is honoured to have people of international standing and who are highly regarded in various fields on the board to guide the institution in its internationalisation endeavours.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
27 November 2009
 

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