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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. 


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UFS in new partnership with the Vrije University of Amsterdam
2011-11-17

 

Proff. Lex Boutler (left) from the Vrije University of Amsterdam and Jonathan Jansen are signing an institutional Memorandum of Understanding. Prof. Boutler was part of a delegation that visited the campus two weeks ago.

A delegation from the Vrije University of Amsterdam (VUA) visited the UFS two weeks ago to discuss and sign an institutional Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the VUA and UFS.

The MOU follows after academics have collaborated on a number of research projects between the Faculties of Theology and the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice to create a firm foundation for the two universities to strengthen their collaborative efforts towards achieving academic excellence.
 
Another initiative that was discussed was the possibility of a joint PhD project and mobility scholarship through the South Africa-VU Amsterdam Strategic Alliances (SAVUSA) and Stimulating Knowledge Innovation through Life-long Learning (SKILL) programme earmarked for UFS and VUA staff and Master’s and PhD graduate students.
 
The VUA delegation also had an opportunity to meet and engage with the UFS F1 students. These students will visit the VUA in January 2012, where they will also visit the Amsterdam University College (AUC).
 
The AUC is an international liberal arts and sciences programme that attracts students from all over the world to engage through intensive seminars on a variety of subjects. 

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