Erasmus + Success Stories

Assoc.,Prof. Dimitrina Zheleva-DimitrovaDepartment of PharmacognosyPharmaceutical BotanyFaculty of PharmacyOutgoing Lecturer

Dimitrina's impressions from University of KwaZulu-Natal


Erasmus+ Period: 19/08/2019 – 23/08/2019

I dreamed of Africa!

My passion on Africa and African medicinal plants started four years ago with an in-dept re-search on some Sudanese plant species. Than I realized that up to 80 % of the population in Africa still relies on medicinal plants as the principal source of medicines for their health. It was found that plants growing under extreme conditions produce more bioactive substances.

I am Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University-Sofia, and I work on phytochemistry of medicinal plants. Thanks to the Erasmus+ Programme, I had the opportunity to make a dream of mine comes true. I visited Africa and continue with African plants research.

At the end of August, we visited the College of Health Sciences in the University of KwaZulu-Natal, (UKZN) Durban. Durban is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town, located on the east coast of South Africa, and one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. The mix of Zulu, Indian and European cultures in the city makes it a unique urban environment in which to live and work. College of Health Sciences is one of the four Colleges that form the UKZN, consist of four Schools and 2400 students. Pharmaceutical science is one of the eight discipline in the School of Health Sciences and was the object of our Erasmus+ Programme. This school has managed to place itself in a leading position in terms of undergraduate and postgraduate students. A great numbers of high-technology equipped laboratories with numerous working young people admired us. South Africans are polite, charming, curious and hard-working people.

Full of amazing and exotic plant species, South Africa is the third most biodiverse country with a great opportunity for bioprospecting of plant compounds for novel pharmaceuticals remains. My dream to work on phytochemistry of this unexplored source of natural compounds and to try to help the African people in their fight against different infectious diseases, starts to fulfill.

Thank to all my new Bulgarian and African friends! I hope this collaboration continue and see my amazing Africa again!