The AIMS South Africa Public Lecture Series presents a talk
‘Plants for human health: venturing into traditions of old with a biotechnological toolkit’
By Prof. NP Makunga, Dept of Botany and Zoology, University of Stellenbosch
Abstract:In South Africa, traditional medicines provide a health system that is relevant for a large percentage of the population. Exploitation of medicinal plants is thus also important as it serves to generate an income for those that collect and trade plants for various plant-based pharmaceutical industries. As a hyper-diverse floral region, various practices for the utilisation of medicinal plants has thus led to a wide range of ethnic pharmacopeias that are uniquely South African in their character. Potential contribu-tions of both indigenous knowledge and the botanicals is said to provide incentives that will contribute to the bioeconomy of South Africa.
Bio: Prof. Makunga graduated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology with Prof J van Staden (Director of the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, RCPGD) and Prof AK Jäger (University of Copenhagen) as supervisors in 2004. She was recruited by Stellenbosch University and was the first Black Female lecturer in the Science Faculty and in 2014, she was promoted to Associate Professor. Her research focuses on the application of biotechnology to Cape medicinal flora centred around using a multidirectional approach that combines the areas of biotechnology, ethnopharmacology and chemistry.