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Gary Ivan Stafford

Lecturer/researcher, University of Pretoria

I recently (August 2017) joined the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria as a lecturer in Phytomedicine. Prior to that I have been a postdoctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University, University of Zurich, Switzerland and the University of Copenhagen Denmark. I have been conducting research on various aspects of African Traditional Medicine since starting an M.Sc. on ‘the effect of storage on the chemistry and biological activity of several South African medicinal plants’ in 2002, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). As a classically trained ethnobotanist my main research interests have been on the utilization, production and development of plants used in traditional medicine in South Africa. I am particularly interested in those with neurobiological activity, the subject of his Ph.D. research. I am also interested in policy development, chemotaxonomy, chemical ecology, plant systematics and evolution, specifically, the systematics of the alkaloid containing bulbous geophyte family, the Amaryllidaceae. Since publishing my first scientific article in 2004 I have authored or co-authored over 45 articles (Google Scholar - in peer-reviewed journals.
In 2010, I was awarded a Marie Curie Incoming Postdoctoral Fellowship, which was held jointly at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry (hosted by Prof A.K. Jäger) and the Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen (hosted by Prof N. Rønsted), Denmark. During this period I investigated the relationships between the evolutionary history of Clivia and its relatives in the plant family Amaryllidaceae, their alkaloid content and biological activity. Many of the African species are used in Traditional medicine and may hold new compounds with promising medicinal and health applications.


  • –present
    Lecturer/researcher, University of Pretoria


  • 2009 
    University of KwaZulu-Natal, PhD/ethnobotany