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SU physiologist recognised for cancer research
Author: Media & Communication, Faculty of Science
Published: 04/10/2016

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 recently.

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.

Prof Engelbrecht 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).

Prof Engelbrecht 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.