He’s turned 80 but phytomedicine expert Prof Kobus Eloff just keeps on excelling

Posted on October 02, 2019

Professor Kobus Eloff of the Department of Paraclinical Sciences and founder of the Faculty’s Phytomedicine Programme, not only turned 80 in August, his 50th PhD student delivered as supervisor/co-supervisor also graduated.

Prof Eloff originally established the Phytomedicine Programme in the Department of Pharmacology at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences where two of his single-author publications on methods in medicinal plants have been cited 3 050 times to date. The group moved to the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the Onderstepoort campus in 2000 and since then has published 280 scientific papers in high-quality journals. He has published more than 320 papers leading to (Google Scholar) > 13100 citations, with 52 papers cited at least 52 times and 195 papers cited at least 10 times. 

In December 2018 he was inducted as a member of the African Academy of Science which served as precursor to a very special 2019. During this year he presented lectures at several international and local conferences as plenary speaker or invited speaker. It started with a plenary lecture in February at the International Society for Ethnopharmacology (ISE) in Manipal, India where he received an award for “Outstanding International Ethnopharmacologist 2019” from the Indian Chapter of the ISE.

This was followed by an invited lecture at the congress of the ISE in Dresden, Germany, in June and an invited lecture at the Faculty of Veterinary Science in Warschau, Poland. In South Africa he was a plenary speaker at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Indigenous Plant Use Society in July where he received the prize for the best product from indigenous plants. Another invited lecture followed in August at the congress of the Phytochemical Society Europe in Lisbon, Portugal. During September he presented an invited lecture at the University of South Africa (UNISA) followed by another in Helsinki, Finland to the Faculty of Biological Sciences during which visit he will also act as opponent to the graduation of a PhD student. He has furthermore been listed to deliver a plenary lecture for the November World Conference in Medicinal and Aromatic plants to be held in Famagusta in Cyprus.

Prof Eloff has received numerous awards during his illustrious career. Among them were the International Horticultural Society Bronze medal; the South African Association of Botanists Silver and Gold medals and honorary Life Membership; SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns Havenga medal, Gold medal and MT Steyn Prize; National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Eskom Prize for capacity development, and Academy for Science of South Africa (ASSAf) Gold medal. Quite fittingly, his profile has been included in an ASSAF book entitled “Legends of South African Science”.

- Author CvB

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