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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

Exciting open day and Albert Einstein program at Boyden Observatory
2005-05-06

National Science Week, which will be held from 7-14 May 2005, is an annual country-wide celebration of science, led by the Department of Science and Technology.  The department selected a proposal by the Boyden Science Centre to coordinate a week of activities in the Bloemfontein area as one of the many projects in the country.

The project for Bloemfontein and surrounding areas will be delivered though a collaboration between the National Museum in Bloemfontein and the University of the Free State (UFS), including the Research Institute for Education Planning, the Department of Physics and other departments in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

The purpose of National Science Week is:

to create awareness of the important role that science play in people’s daily lives;
to encourage our youth to consider studying and improving their performance in mathematics and science; and
to attract more of our youth into science, engineering and technology (SET) careers.

 

World Year of Physics and Albert Einstein Program at Boyden Observatory

The International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) declared the year 2005 as the World Year of Physics (WYP). In recognition of this declaration, the great contribution of Physics to the development of technology, and its importance in our everyday lives will be featured strongly during the National Science Week 2005.

On Saturday 7 May 2005 there will be a public programme at Boyden Observatory from 15:30 as a contribution to the World Year of Physics. The programme will be presented in collaboration with the Bloemfontein branch of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa and will include short presentations on astronomy, space exploration and the sun.

The main presentation will be at 19:00 the evening on the life and work of Albert Einstein. The programme will also include observing sessions through telescopes of objects like the sun, Jupiter and Saturn. There will also be an exhibit on Albert Einstein. Attendance is free but booking is required.  For bookings, phone 051-4012561.

Public lecture programme:

Next week the following exciting public lectures will be presented as part of the Science Week activities:

Monday 9 May 2005 

National Museum:

A discussion on Apocalypse Then: the greatest mass extinction of all time.  The lecture will be presented by Dr Jennifer Botha, Paleontologist at the National Museum.
Bookings: 051-4479609 (entrance is free).

UFS campus:

All lectures at Kine 2, Medical Faculty, UFS campus. Follow directions from the DF Malherbe Road entrance.
Bookings: 051-4012561 (entrance is free).

Tuesday 10 May 2005:

A discussion on the Tsunami disaster of 26 December 2004 at 19:30 (UFS campus, Kine 2 Medical Faculty).

Wednesday 11 May 2005:

A discussion on Is there life out there? at 19:30 (UFS campus, Kine 2 Medical Faculty).

Friday 13 May 2005:

A discussion on Hunting Black Holes at 19:30 (UFS campus, Kine 2 Medical Faculty).  The lecture will be presented by Dr Phil Charles, Director: South African Astronomical Observatory.

Science awareness day at the National museum

The science week will be concluded on Saturday 14 May 2005 with a special Science Awareness Day at the National Museum, Aliwal Street, Bloemfontein. 

The excellent exhibits at the museum will be supplemented with activities, career information and video shows. The duration of the programme will be from 10:00-16:00.  For enquiries, please call 051-4479609.

 

Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za

6 May 2005
 

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