Thursday, 20 August 2020

Poster receives international acclaim

WINNER: Dr Naeem Sheik Abdul WINNER: Dr Naeem Sheik Abdul

Postdoctoral fellow Dr Naeem Sheik Abdul recently won first place in the science poster awards of the virtual Summer School on Innovative Approaches in Science.

The event focused on cutting-edge methods to reduce and replace animal tests in toxicology and biomedical research.

Sheik Abdul is a post-doctoral fellow at the Applied Microbial and Health Biotechnology Institute (AMHBI) under the supervision of Prof Jeanine Marnewick.

His winning e-poster was titled Fumonisin B1-Induced Mitochondrial Stress and Intervention by Rooibos: Old Foe New Hero.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most food insecure regions where the majority of the population relies on maize as part of a staple diet. These commodities are often contaminated by fungal toxins such as Fumonisin B1 (FB1), which has been linked to cancer and other acute toxicities. Our study aims to assess the protective role of Rooibos extracts against FB1-induced toxicity in vitro using a liver derived cell line,” he said.

“Rooibos possesses a unique composite of phytochemicals known to encompass antioxidant and bio-active properties. The combination of metabolic activators and antioxidants found in Rooibos may be more effective in preventing and repairing cellular damage caused by toxins. The understanding of how molecular pathways are activated by Rooibos can contribute to the prevention of FB1 toxicity and can lead to the identification of a novel and economically viable approach to protecting vulnerable human populations against FB1 toxicity.”

Sheik Abdul said he did not expect the award but was extremely happy and felt a sense of pride knowing that research conducted at CPUT had been recognised on an international platform. 

The event was jointly hosted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing and the European Commission Joint Research Centre.

“Our study design fitted in well with the objectives of the summer school as it presented an excellent option to determine mitochondrial dysfunction without the use of animals while still maintaining its applicability to metabolic toxicity assessment and intervention approaches,” said Sheik Abdul.

Written by Ilse Fredericks