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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

Postdoc student broadens the interpretation of being productive
2013-09-16

 

Abdon Atangana
13 September 2013

Postdoc student Abdon Atangana (27) in the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) brings a new dimension to the word ‘productive’. Since the beginning of this year he has published 23 articles in accredited journals. He is also guest editor in two reputed scientific journals.

Atangana – originally from Cameroon – enrolled at the UFS in 2009, finishing his BSc Honours in Applied Mathematics in one year. By the end of 2010 he could add MSc in Applied Mathematics to his CV. If this was not an accomplishment enough in itself, he passed both degrees cum laude. In 2011 he tackled his PhD in Geohydrology and submitted his final thesis in January 2013 – being the youngest PhD graduate at the Winter Graduation.

Besides his impressive publishing success, an additional 28 of his papers are currently under review by international journals in Applied Mathematics.

Atangana’s accomplishments in the publishing arena are phenomenal. He is lead guest editor for the special issue on Theory, Methods, and Applications of Fractional Calculus in The Scientific World Journal. He is also guest editor for the special issue on Analytical and Numerical Approaches for Complicated Nonlinear Equations in Abstract and Applied Analysis.Furthermore, he has been appointed on the editorial board of New Trends in Mathematical Sciences and is a reviewer for nine international accredited journals in Applied Mathematics.

This extraordinary academic has already presented papers on international conferences in America, Turkey and Thailand as well.

Atangana is truly the embodiment of the UFS’ core value of inspiring excellence.

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