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Oxidative Stress Research Centre

img oxidative 1In 2009 construction of the new laboratories and offices housing the Oxidative Stress Research Centre (OSRC) at the institution’s Bellville campus was completed. Various research entities exist within the OSRC, i.e. Medicinal Plant Research; Experimental Biology Research; Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle Research, Bioorganic and Inorganics Research and Analytical Laboratory Services that will address specific health and industry needs.

The Centre is a multidisciplinary initiative of CPUT that offers a wide range of services from chemists, microbiologists, physiologists, pharmacists, inorganic chemists, nutritionists, dieticians and biochemists. Prof Jeanine L Marnewick from the Health and Wellness Sciences Faculty joined CPUT in 2005 and is head of this Centre. She adds to the Centre vast research experience she has gained from her past research endeavours. Her studies on the two indigenous herbal teas, rooibos and honeybush have made important and novel contributions to the scientific literature and she is recognized as an expert on rooibos, nationally and internationally. She started the rooibos research about 12 years ago at the Medical Research Council, looking at cancer prevention/ chemoprevention through rooibos (a reddish coloured shrub of which the dried leaves are used to make tea). Recently she completed the first-ever human intervention trial at CPUT using this popular traditional South African herbal tea to determine whether rooibos can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults at risk. The results of this study were presented both locally and internationally. Prof Marnewick also has very strong ties with the food and beverage industry and serves as expert advisor to them. She is a popular invited speaker at national, international, industry and health forums on the health benefits of medicinal plants.

Ultimately it is envisaged that this multidisciplinary approach to health promotion and disease prevention will be developed into a centre of excellence and become a niche area for oxidative stress research not only in South Africa but also in Africa.

Postgraduate students

Since its inception, the Centre has yielded 27 postgraduate degrees, 16 at masters and 11 at doctoral level. The 5 yr average for peer-reviewed publications in accredited journals is 20, with 15 conferences national/international presentations. Currently, the Centre accommodates more than 20 postgraduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows. These numbers are rapidly growing. Graduates interested in pursuing a postgraduate qualification and postdoctoral fellows interested in the field of oxidative stress can aim their enquiries to Prof Marnewick or the principal investigators listed.

Research uptake

Prof Marnewick is actively involved in sharing research outcomes with the public as she feels strongly that research should be applied to improve public health. The relevance of her work involving the health-promoting properties of the indigenous herbal tea, Rooibos, to the South African population is a definite strength. Activities involving the dissemination of research results to the public include numerous radio interviews, invited speaker at public forums and appearance on SABC’s actuality program, 50/50 and Nature’s Health series.

Contact us

Prof Jeanine L Marnewick
OSRC building, Bellville Campus
Tel: +27 21 953 8416