School of Life Sciences

Dr Kolawole Olofinsan gets capped during his graduation.

Medicinal Plant Research Contributes to Combatting Diabetes

Dr Kolawole Olofinsan’s PhD study investigated the antidiabetic potential and bioactive phytochemicals of some South African medicinal plants.

Diabetes is a major global public health problem. Olofinsan explored the use of alternative medicine to treat type 2 diabetes with fewer or no side effects. He published a number of papers, with more in the pipeline.

Having completed his undergraduate studies in Biochemistry, Olofinsan registered for a master’s degree at the Federal University of Technology, Ondo State in Nigeria. His research explored plants’ natural defence mechanisms by developing a biopesticide against the Cowpea weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus) from selected native plants found in Nigeria. He found that biopesticides had fewer residual effects, are eco-friendly and biodegradable and pose lower risks of the acute toxicities associated with chemical compounds.

After lecturing at Nile University in Nigeria and inspired by his parents who were both teachers, Olofinsan embarked on his PhD journey at UKZN. He hopes that his findings will improve the health and well-being of people living with diabetes and highlight the importance of indigenous knowledge.

Currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Laser Research Centre at the University of Johannesburg, he plans to continue in academia and make a contribution to the global body of scientific knowledge.

Olofinsan thanked his supervisor, Professor Shahidul Islam, his colleague, Dr Salau Veronica (Omoge) and Dr Ochuko Erukainure for supporting him. He expressed his appreciation for God’s mercy and favour and thanked his wife, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olofinsan for her prayers and encouragement.

When not conducting research in the laboratory, he enjoys judo or Taekwondo and watching extreme sports.

Islam noted that Olofinsan was a hardworking, focused student. ‘I wish him all the best in his future research career.’

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal