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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

Brian Campbell one of selected few in Microsoft programme
2012-09-14

Brian Campbell
14 September 2012

A UFS student in Computer Science and Informatics, Brian Campbell of the Department of Computer Science and Informatics, has joined an elite group of South Africans, was invited to join the Microsoft Student Partner (MSP) programme in April 2012. Approximately 500 computer science and information technology students are chosen worldwide each year to form part of this elite student development programme. This year, 16 South African students were invited to join the MSP program.

These students will be Microsoft’s first non-industry partners to be trained in its newest and most revolutionary technologies that will be launched within the coming months. As part of their commitment to Microsoft, most of the students will train the lecturers and students of their respective universities, as well as Microsoft’s national industry partners and lecturers of universities and universities of technology that do not have MSPs on their campuses.

In May this year, Brian assisted employees from Microsoft to present a Windows 8 seminar at its offices in Cape Town.

Additional Microsoft related events have been arranged by Brian. These include a Windows Phone development day and an upcoming Windows 8 development seminar. Five students in the Department of Computer Science and Informatics were rewarded with Nokia Lumia cell phones after they published at least five applications on the Windows Phone Marketplace.
 

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