The Physiology Society of South Africa (PSSA) has
awarded Stellenbosch University’s Prof Anna-Mart Engelbrecht with the Lasec
award for excellence in physiology research during the annual conference held in Cape Town
The Lasec award
honours well-established physiologists who have proven their research
excellence over a period of time and who have made a large contribution to the
research endeavours of the PSSA.
leads the Cancer Research Group (CRG) in the Department of Physiological
Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU). Her research focuses on exploring new avenues of chemotherapy
and adjuvant treatments that would favour the use of lower chemotherapy doses
that would cause less side-effects to normal healthy cells while maintaining
satisfactory levels of cancer cell death.
She says cancer
research is faced with numerous challenges, most importantly the fact that
cancer cells are becoming increasingly resistant to chemotherapy. In this
regard, she has recently been awarded a three-year grant from the National
Research Foundation (NFR) to unravel the mechanisms of resistance in breast
cancer therapy. Her group is also conducting research for the Medical Research
Council on the potential of pomegranate
seed oil in causing breast cancer cell death, as well as looking at cancer as a
disease in terms of tolerance, resistance, pathogenicity and virulence
(two-year project funded by the NRF).
has authored or co-authored 50 research articles in accredited academic
journals, as well as seven book chapters and presented at numerous national and
international conferences. She currently also serves as
head of the Department of Physiological Sciences at SU.