Background and General Information
The African continent features areas with extremely high biodiversity and high levels of endemism, indicating that many of the continent’s plant resources are uniquely African. African traditional medicine is therefore based on a broad ethnomedicinal knowledge and represents a major socio-cultural heritage, which has accumulated during the last millennia and features valuable and unique ethnomedicinal information.
The GA aims to foster the scientific development of African research pursuits by establishing an African Research Network among members of the GA and thus expanding and improving research capacity. Therefore, a working group was established to stimulate and facilitate the interaction of African researchers within the GA.
As a working group of the GA we provide a regular platform for scientific exchange by establishing a sustainable communication channel between the members of the network and organizing regular scientific symposia during the annual conference.
Mission statement and goals of the Working Group
The Mission of the African Research Network Working Group of the GA is to stimulate and facilitate the interaction of African researchers within the GA with the intention to foster the regional scientific development of the continent by expanding and improving research capacity via networking between African researchers and thus improving the quality and relevance of the continent’s scientific output.
To achieve the mission of the working group, the following specific goals are pursued:
- Implementation of a member’s profile collection with an index of all interested African GA-members (including information such as name, location, research interests, lab equipment etc.). join the network and register here
- Providing a regular platform for scientific exchange by organizing regular symposia during the annual conference where African researchers can present their recent research results.
- Training workshops organized by different African scientists/research institutions for young researchers taking place in varying regions of Africa
- Joint proposals for collaborative research projects initiated by network members
Join the Network
Join our LinkedIn group African Research Network on Medicinal Plants and Natural Products Research by GA and ISE.
Summer School on “Ethnopharmacological relevance: from bench to shelf, including intellectual property and bioprospecting acts“
Location: Future Africa Campus, University of Pretoria, Pretoria South Africa
Date: 6-10th March 2023
Supported by the Volkswagen Foundation we are organizing a summer school on “Ethnopharmacological relevance: from bench to shelf, including intellectual property and bioprospecting acts“.
The summer school is hosted by the University of Pretoria and the Leipzig University and aims to equip young scientists from Europe and Africa with the knowledge and know-how of steering their natural product research towards successful commercialization. The participants will have the chance of exploring areas relating to standardization, quality control and entrepreneurship.
Follow this link to visit the summer school website.
African Research Pre-Congress Symposium (ARS): “Traditional Nature-based African Medicine” on the 28th August 2022
The 4th edition of the African Research Workshop was held in Thessaloniki, Greece on 28th August 2022 as a hybrid pre-congress of the 70th International Congress and Annual Meeting of the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA).
The symposium was chaired by Dr. Cica vissiennon (Leipzig University), Prof. Namrita Lall (University of Pretoria) and Dr. Emelia Oppong Bekoe (University of Ghana). The pre-conference kicked off with an impulse lecture on the development of Apivirine, an antiviral phytomedicine used in clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients without signs of severity. Findings provide scientific evidence that apivirine can contribute to remission in patients with covid without severe symptoms. This impulse lecture was followed by a series of six shorts lectures which provided the audience with a wide range of scientific studies on African medicinal plants (South African, Guinean, Ghanaian, Angolan etc.), which enriched the session. During this session, awareness was raised on the importance of properly documenting popular medicinal plants, through their botanical description, their use, quality control and especially the provision of scientific evidence of their effect. Then, a series of five virtual “flash talks” revealed the research outcomes of young African scientists. The session was concluded after future perspectives for the African Research Network were discussed.
Participants in the Pre-Congress Symposium 2022
Panel discussion: Key Challenges for Natural Products Research – Perspectives from African Scientists.
Date: 07 September 2021, 12:00- 13:30 CEST, zoom meeting
Moderators: Prof. Namrita Lall (University of Pretoria, South Africa) and Dr. Cica Vissiennon (Leipzig University, Germany)
The main purpose of this panel discussion relating to
(1) intellectual property, bioprospecting and
(2) funding was to gain different perspectives and opinions.
The session was opened with an impulse lecture from Dr. K. K. Nyirenda on the “Nutraceutical Potential of Fadogia ancylantha, Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights”. The panellists then proceeded to provide their statements and shared insights on bioprospecting permits and intellectual property, this also included some discussions on challenges experienced by African Researchers such as funding, equipment, and skills shortages.
- Emelia Oppong Bekoe (University of Ghana School of Pharmacy)
- Prof Sami Khalid (University of Science and Technology, Sudan)
- Namrita Lall (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
- Alyce Ntabanzi (Makerere University, Uganda)
- Prof Learnmore Kambizi (Cape Pennsula University of Technology, South Africa)
- Will Coetsee (Botanica, South Africa)
- Portia Matamela (Letago Pharmaceuticals, South Africa)
- Prof Naglaa Saad (Ain Shams University, Egypt & City University College of Ajman, United Arab Emirates)
- Godwin Anywar (Makerere University, Uganda)
The discussions created the possibility for takeaways and possible solutions to questions posed during interaction with the audience and viewers. Please click the button for a summary on the main takeaways.
Panel Discussion 2022
Our second African Research Workshop took place on 18 April 2021, during the 20th International Congress of the International Society of Ethnopharmacology as a virtual event.
At the beginning of the workshop an impulse lecture by Dr. Bertrand Graz, Fondation Antenna, Switzerland, introduced the concept of “Reverse Pharmacology as an approach to scientifically validate traditional medicine”.
The following short lecture session provided an overview on diverse topics related to natural products research
After a coffee break Dr. Emerson F. Queiroz, University of Geneva, Switzerland) highlighted the potential of interdisciplinary collaborations in his keynote lectures on “Innovative strategies for the efficient isolation of natural products and discovery of potential new leads” where he demonstrated three examples of successful of international collaborative projects.
Prof. Namrita Lall (University of Pretoria, South Africa) concluded the event with an inspiring lecture on “Regulatory aspects and challenges for the commercialization of natural products”.
The workshop was organized jointly by the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Products Research (GA) and the International Society of Ethnopharmacology (ISE).
One of our participants, Dr. Anna-Mari Reid (University of Pretoria, South Africa) has summarized her impressions on the workshop here.
The second African Research Workshop took place online.
First African Research Workshop
The First African Research Workshop on medicinal plant and natural products research took place in Innsbruck on 01 September 2019.