UP indigenous knowledge systems expert Prof Namrita Lall's research showcased at Kew Gardens

Posted on August 05, 2021


Professor Namrita Lall, holder of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) in Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) at the University of Pretoria (UP), is no stranger to awards and accolades. She is also on the Essential Science Indicators list of the top 1% of publication outputs (citations) in Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, recently requested Prof Lall to contribute to a new public display in one of their glasshouses, the North Octagon, Temperate house of Kew. Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in southwest London that houses the world's largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections.

According to Prof Lall, "The display addresses the importance of biodiversity in sustainable healthcare. I am also honoured to announce that they include information on one of my articles in the Kew publication on the State of the World's Plants and Fungi."

Royal Botanic Gardens contacted her to contribute as a consequence of an article that she was co-author with her two postdoctoral students, Dr Marco Nuno De Canha and Dr Danielle Twilley. The recent Kew publication on the State of the World's Plants and Fungi also included this paper's information.

Three books edited by Prof Lall will be showcased at the Royal Botanics Garden Kew Library, which boasts one of the world's largest collections of published botanical information.

Prof Lall has also been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Natural Resources University of Missouri, USA (Department is 1 of the top 15 in the world), at JSS AHER, India, and as a Senior Research fellow at the Bio-Tech R&D Institute, Jamaica.

Her research into cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals has resulted in various start-up companies such as Tone Tribe, Blyde Botanics, Scholareview, LookSci (formed by Young postgraduates) and Bio Indigenous Solution (a community-based company in Pretoria) and the granting of twelve patents, of which nine are internationally filed. Recently, two licence agreements have been concluded with "Botanichem" company and "Letago Pharmaceuticals" for various technologies emanated from the team. Recent publications of importance that resulted from Prof Lall's research group include a review on the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential of natural products to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and the effect of Aspalathus linearis (rooibos) on the stimulation of melanogenesis.

She will serve as President-Elect for the prestigious association, International Society of Ethnopharmacology (ISE). Further to this honourable position, Prof Lall will serve as the President of the Society after her two-year term as President-Elect.

Her recent interests include establishing the African Phytomedicine Scientific Society, which aims to bring together all the African researchers working on medicinal plants. This is a great networking opportunity and will promote our indigenous flora on the African continent.

Several prestigious awards have been granted to Prof Lall over the recent years, including "The Order of Mapungubwe", South Africa's highest honour from the Honourable South African President Jacob Zuma.

- Author Martie Meyer

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