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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

University helps design new test of academic literacy for postgraduates
2012-09-04

The Inter-institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA), of which the University of the Free State (UFS) is a founding partner, has secured a joint agreement with the Language Centre at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands to design and develop another test of academic literacy for postgraduate students.

ICELDA is a partnership between four multilingual South African universities: Pretoria, Stellenbosch, North-West and Free State.

This design that ICELDA is coming up with will focus mainly on diagnostic purposes and follow in the footsteps of TALPS, the current test of academic literacy for postgraduate students at the four universities.

Prof. Albert Weideman, Head of the Department of English says TALPS has recently been the topic of a redesign and in-depth analysis undertaken by Colleen du Plessis, a junior lecturer in the Department of English for her master's dissertation. She is developing two further versions of it for ICELDA and the new project will involve Rebecca Patterson, who will do her long assignment for honours on the diagnostic value of the current test. A former doctoral student of the Department English Tobie van Dyk will be the project leader.

“The rationale for the project is that one can no longer take the academic literacy levels of postgraduate students for granted. We wish the investigating and development team that Tobie will put together, every success.”
 

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