Namrita Lall is a Professor and NRF rated researcher in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), and holds a NRF/DST Chair in Plant health Products from Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). She obtained her PhD in 2001 and currently leads a research group in the Medicinal Plant Sciences Programme.
Office: Plant Sciences Complex 3-39
Tel: +27 (0)12 420 2524
Email: [email protected]
Medicinal Plant Science Programme
The main vision of Professor Lall’s research is to use medicinal plants for the benefit of its people. The programme investigates the medicinal plants for Tuberculosis, cancer, and skin-related diseases. Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory effects of the plants are also evaluated.
The aim therefore, is not only the isolation and purification of pharmacologically relevant phytochemicals as new lead compounds, but also the investigation of complex extracts and semi-pure fractions to use in the medicinal plant industry related to the primary health care of people.
Professor Lall works closely with industry partners as well as traditional health practitioners for the commercialisation of new plant-based herbal products. Bioprospecting, the ethical issues, intellectual property rights and benefit-sharing related to this process are some of the tasks of high priority.
DST/NRF South African Research Chair
Professor Lall holds a DST/NRF South African Research Chair from Indigenous Knowledge Systems as part of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI). The goal of the Research Chairs initiative is to strengthen the research and innovation capacity of public universities. The key objectives that Professor Lall meets as part of this initiative include:
- Contributing to the expansion of the scientific research and innovation capacity of South Africa (SA);
- Improving SA’s international research while responding to social and economic challenges in SA
- Attracting and retaining excellent researchers and scientists;
- Increasing the production of masters and doctoral graduates; and
- Creating research career pathways for young and mid-career researchers, with a strong research, innovation and human capital development output trajectory.
Read more about The South African Research Chairs Initiative
Professor Lall has been placed in the top 1% of the Essential Science Indicators list for publication citations in the discipline of Pharmacology and Toxicology. She has led the discovery of a number of medicinal plants with valuable biological activities, many of which have been patented. Four South African patents and 6 PCT patents of which 3 have been granted in the US, 2 in the European Union, 2 in the ARIPO states, and 1 in China, South Korea, Australia, India and Japan.
A total of 16 prototype extracts prepared in Professor Lall’s lab have undergone extensive research and development (including in vitro validation, pre-clinical and clinical trials). These prototypes have been patented and have been licenced out to the manufacturers. A product to reduce hyperpigmentation has been commercialised nationally and internationally.
Books and publications
To date, Professor Lall has co-authored over 150 research articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as 46 book chapters. She has edited three books on medicinal plants.
Selected recent publications
Twilley, D., Rademan, S., & Lall, N. (2020). A review on traditionally used South African medicinal plants, their secondary metabolites and their potential development into anticancer agents. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 113101. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2020.113101]
De Canha, M. N., Komarnytsky, S., Langhansova, L., & Lall, N. (2020). Exploring the anti-acne potential of Impepho [Helichrysum odoratissimum (L.) Sweet] to combat Cutibacterium acnes virulence. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10, 1559. [https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2019.01559]
Fibrich, B., Gao, X., Puri, A., Banga, A. K., & Lall, N. (2020). In vitro antioxidant, anti-Inflammatory and skin permeation of Myrsine africana and its isolated compound, myrsinoside B. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 10, 1410. [https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2019.01410]
Lall, Namrita, Antonios Chrysargyris, Isa Lambrechts, Bianca Fibrich, Analike Blom Van Staden, Danielle Twilley, Marco Nuno De Canha, Carel Basson Oosthuizen, Dikonketso Bodiba, and Nikolaos Tzortzakis. "Sideritis perfoliata (subsp. perfoliata) nutritive value and its potential medicinal properties." Antioxidants 8, no. 11 (2019): 521. [https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8110521]
Karkare, Shantanu, Terence TH Chung, Frederic Collin, Lesley A. Mitchenall, Adam R. McKay, Sandra J. Greive, Jacobus JM Meyer, Namrita Lall, and Anthony Maxwell. "The naphthoquinone diospyrin is an inhibitor of DNA gyrase with a novel mechanism of action." Journal of Biological Chemistry 288, no. 7 (2013): 5149-5156. [https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M112.419069]
Kuete, Victor, Jean G. Tangmouo, JJ Marion Meyer, and Namrita Lall. "Diospyrone, crassiflorone and plumbagin: three antimycobacterial and antigonorrhoeal naphthoquinones from two Diospyros spp." International journal of antimicrobial agents 34, no. 4 (2009): 322-325. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2009.04.008]
Lall, N., M. Das Sarma, B. Hazra, and J. J. M. Meyer. "Antimycobacterial activity of diospyrin derivatives and a structural analogue of diospyrin against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro." Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 51, no. 2 (2003): 435-438. [https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkg068]
Books edited by Prof Lall
Medicinal Plants for Holistic Health and Wellbeing 2017. (ISBN: 9780128124758).
Underexplored potentially therapeutic plants from Sub-Saharan Africa 2020. (ISBN: 9780128168141).
Aquatic Plants: Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Applications 2020. (ISBN: 9780367518462).
Phytomedicine and Natural Product short course - 2021
The Phytomedicine and Natural Product short course provides practical and theoretical skills to researchers who specialise in the discovery of new natural products from plants. The intention is to create a multidisciplinary and collaborative course that incorporates plant science, phytochemistry, pharmacology, plant pathology as well as safety and efficacy issues of commonly used phyto-drugs.
Successful applicants to be announced on 23 January 2021
The online course will commence on 15 February 2021
Contact sessions will run on 24–26 March 2021
Dr Surjeet Verma
ORICD - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1309-1709
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Surjeet_Verma3
Google Scholar - https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=8W_BffcAAAAJ
Dr Danielle Twilley
ORICD - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6701-5547
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Danielle_Twilley2
Google Scholar - https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=6qQFp3wAAAAJ&hl=en
Dr Carel B. Oosthuizen
ORICD - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0940-8099
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carel_Oosthuizen3
Google Scholar - https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=azxYH1wAAAAJ&hl=en
Dr Marco N. De Canha
ORICD - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9237-2279
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marco_De_Canha
Google Scholar - https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=MV9vxSYAAAAJ&hl=en
Dr Anna-mari Reid
ORICD - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4552-4022
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anna_Mari_Reid
Analike Blom-Van Staden
Project Title - “Skin re-pigmentation by increasing melanin transfer using Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f) R.Dahlgren”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0031-1269
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Analike_Blom_Van_Staden
Project Title - “Targeting multiple virulence factors of Streptococcus mutans using Heteropyxis, and the effect that nanoparticles have on sample efficacy and toxicity.”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2882-5226
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dikonketso_Bodiba
Project Title - “The quest to discover an adjuvant phyo drug for the treatment of lung cancer and precancerous lung conditions with plants of Southern Africa"
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5491-0259
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tenille_Esmear
Project Title - “An indigenous South African plant from the Lamiaceae family targeting antibiotic resistance and quorum sensing associated with acne vulgaris”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3349-5033
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Isa_Lambrechts
Project Title - “ A wrinkle in time; the effect of various extracts of Persicaria senegalensis of the maintenance of the dermal matrisome in photoageing skin”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9901-0932
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bianca_Fibrich
Project Title - “Evaluation of South African Plant Species for The Treatment of Venous Thromboembolism”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9440-8813
Project Title - “The antimycobacterial activity and potential herb-drug interactions of selected South African plants”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2447-334X
Project Title - “Sensitization of skin cancer cells to anti-cancer agents through the upregulation of PTEN and inhibition of PI3K using a South African plant”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6468-630X
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacqueline_Maphutha
Project Title - “Medicinal potential of South African plants in reducing TNF-alpha, histamine and NF-kb associated symptoms in relation to atopic dermatitis”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3347-6836
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marize_Nel
Project Title - “Reversing the effect of skin aging using Elegia tectorum (L.F) Moline &
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5078-9172
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gugulethu_Radebe2
Project Title - “Untitled”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7398-4659
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aimee_Steyn
Project Title - “Antiproliferative activity in 2D and 3D melanoma models using Buddleja saligna Willd. and isolated compounds”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4063-7172
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Talita_Turvey
Project Title - “The effects of Aloe arborescens Miller varieties on dermal wound healing”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8521-9463
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Samantha_Loggenberg
Project Title - “Combatting mycobacterial quorum sensing using South African medicinal plants and their applications in chronic pulmonary ailments”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5505-3773
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jonathan_Seaman2
Project Title - “Identification of active fractions from Rapanea melanophloeos against acne-causing bacteria using bioassay-guided techniques”
ORCID - https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0072-6667
ResearchGate - https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Catherine_Wilkinson9