Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020
Previous Archive
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

Prof Finkelstein current and only A-rated researcher in Probability and Statistics in SA
2014-10-28



Prof Maxim Finkelstein
Photo: Johan Roux
Prof Maxim Finkelstein from the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of the Free State (UFS) received an A-rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF). This makes him the only A-rated researcher in ‘Probability and Statistics’ regarding Mathematical Sciences in the country.

According to the NRF-rating process, a person with an A-rating is a world leader in his field. 

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said: "I am absolutely delighted for Professor Finkelstein and for the fact that this is one of the clearest signs that the UFS has significantly increased its standards of research across the institution as a whole."

Prof Finkelstein says this rating means a great deal to him, since it is a reflection of his dedication and perseverance.

“Of course, the rating is not a goal in itself,” Prof Finkelstein says. “The goal is the high quality research and the rating is just an objective indication of this. Along with the satisfaction, this rating brings the responsibility for maintaining this high status in the future.”

Prof Finkelstein conducts his general research in the field of ‘Probability and Statistics’, but his specific area of focus is ‘Stochastic Modelling’. Prof Finkelstein solely lectures postgraduate students and also mentors a few master’s and PhD students. This affords him the time to mainly concentrate on his research.

“Finally, I wish to emphasise the fact that high-quality research became the prime goal at the UFS,” says Prof Finkelstein. He underscores the efforts of the Vice-Chancellor and the Vice-Rector: Research in creating excellent possibilities for researchers. This has already resulted in remarkable improvements in the UFS’s research outputs – and consequently an increase in the number of rated researchers at the university.

A total of 119 UFS researchers currently have evaluation and rating status from the NRF, says Nico Benson, Deputy Director: Research Development. Currently (October 2014) 29 researchers are still waiting for response from the NRF regarding applications submitted. A total of 16 ratings are already known. On the Qwaqwa Campus of the UFS, five researchers are rated.

Prof Finkelstein's A-rating will become effective from 1 January 2015. Ratings are valid for a period of six years and researchers are invited to apply for re-evaluation in the fifth year.


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept