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“Brian Sharp Award” for Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology Postdoctoral Fellow
26 April 2018

25 April 2018

Dr. Phanankosi Moyo, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control, received the Brian Sharp Award for the best student presentation in the Phytomedicines and Bio-prospection thematic area at the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference recently held in Dakar, Senegal. The award was in recognition of his presentation entitled Natural Products as potent and pan-reactive antimalarial agents: Discovery, Isolation and biochemical characterisation.

Dr. P. Moyo’s presentation communicated findings of his PhD studies completed under the supervision of Professor L. Birkholtz (SARChI Chair in Sustainable Malaria Control in the Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology) and co-supervision of Professor V.J. Maharaj (HOD Department of Chemistry at UP), Professor A.I. Louw (Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology) and Professor J.N. Eloff (Department of Paraclinical Sciences at UP). Collaborators for his project included, amongst others, Professor G. Bringmann from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Wuerzburg in Germany whose group provided the naphthylisoquinoline alkaloids utilised in the study, and Dr. M. Selepe, Department of Chemistry at UP, who did structure elucidation of the isolated compounds. Dr. Moyo’s presentation provided a first report of data indicative of the transmission-blocking potential activity of South African plant species and naphthylisoquinoline alkaloids, a plant derived class of natural product compounds. As part of his postdoctoral work, Dr. Moyo continues with research inclined towards investigation of plants in search of novel malaria transmission-blocking agents, all in an effort to provide new tools to contribute towards achieving the goal of malaria elimination and ultimately, eradication. Results from his study are envisaged to motivate further studies by more scholars to examine the transmission-blocking properties of other plant species and plant derived natural product compounds.

In addition to winning the Brian Sharp Award for his presentation, Dr. Moyo also received a competitive travel grant, from the MIM Local Organising Committee, to attend the conference. The travel award covered travel, accommodation, and registration costs.


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