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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

World renowned cardiothoracic surgeons convene at UFS
2010-03-14

World-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons from around the world will be the guests of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of the Free State (UFS) when a workshop for cardiothoracic surgeons is presented at the UFS Faculty of Health from Monday, 15 March to Wednesday, 17 March 2010.

The workshop is presented by the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), which focuses on development and training in Africa.

Prof. Francis Smit, Head of the UFS Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and also member of the international cooperation committee of EACTS, says EACTS have selected the UFS, and specifically Bloemfontein, to be the site for their African Training and Education outreach. “We are extremely honoured by this after working at it for more than four years.”

Seven world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons, including three former presidents of EACTS, will present the training courses in Bloemfontein from 15-17 March 2010. These surgeons are from the United States of America, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Scotland.

The European Cardiovascular Technologists are sending a perfusionist as well to present a perfusion workshop on Wednesday, 17 March 2010. The last day will be devoted to advanced surgical techniques.

The programme consists of a two-day scientific course that addresses research issues. All the invited speakers are well-known and established researchers. They all have been editors/editorial staff members of major international journals.

Prof. Smit says, “The knowledge transfer to South African surgeons can be phenomenal. Young and established surgeons can also meet the experts and improve their skills in conducting and successfully publish results.”

More than a hundred participants are expected for the workshops of the first two days, of which forty from abroad. The last day would be open registration and more than 150 people are expected.

Prof. Smit says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to educate, stimulate and teach surgeons in South Africa. It will add to their knowledge base and introduce them to high quality research methodology that will certainly have an impact on our research output. Hopefully this will be a bi-annual event where we can teach our academic community at a very focused and high level supported by EACTS.”

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
12 March 2010
 

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