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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

Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) recognises three from UFS
2014-10-15

 

Prof Jonathan Jansen and prof Daya Reddy 

The Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Jonathan Jansen, was honoured by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He received ASSAf’s Science-for-Society Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in scientific thinking to the benefit of society.

Prof Jansen said, "I am so inspired by the award of the Academy Gold Medal, for it recognises the power of science and scholarship to improve the human condition."

A further highlight at ASSAf’s annual prestige awards ceremony, was when two academics from the UFS were inducted.

Prof Jeanet Conradie from the Department of Chemistry and Dr Aliza le Roux from the Department of Zoology and Entomology on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus were two of the 23 new members of ASSAf that were inducted.

One of ASSAf’s core functions is to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to membership of the academy. Members are the core asset of the academy and voluntarily give of their time and expertise. Through election to membership, ASSAf recognises scholarly achievement.

ASSAf is the official national academy of science and represents the country in the international community of science academies. As collective resource, the academy enables the generation of evidence-based solutions to national problems.

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