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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

Centre for Teaching and Learning honours excellence and innovation
2015-11-27

 

The 2015 Excellence in Teaching and Learning nominees with CTL management and Dr Lis Lange

Excellence and innovation. These were the qualities celebrated at the recent Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards. Annually, the University of the Free State (UFS) Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) honours lecturers for their outstanding achievements in the classroom. 

During the illustrious event, individual as well as group winners were announced in the category of the Vice Chancellor’s Award, as well as in several categories in the Innovation Awards. The winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards were:

Vice-Chancellor’s Award

Individual
• Louise van den Berg (Faculty of Health Sciences)

Teaching team
• Salomien Boshoff and Naquita Fernandes (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)

Innovation Awards

Engagement and Learning
• Lerato Sekonyela (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)
• Rentia Engelbrecht, Jolandi Bezuidenhout, and Jamie-Lee Nortje (Faculty of the Humanities)

Curriculum Design
• Joyce Ras (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)
• Adre le Roux and Frans Kruger (Faculty of Education)

Community Engagement
• Martin Oliver (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)
• Ielse Seale and Karen Venter (Faculty of Health Sciences)

Assessment Practices
• Joyce Ras (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)
• Salomien Boshoff (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences)

The awards serve to celebrate excellence among the university’s academic staff, while showcasing current best practice, and inspiring innovation among lecturers. 

In aid of this, CTL hosted a showcase following the award ceremony. Academic staff and the broader university community could look over the various entries for new insights and added inspiration. A series of workshops and activities explored themes such as professionalism, and lectureship, as well as various apps that can be used in higher education.

 

 


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