Enabling Pharmaceutical Bioexploration in Tanzania Recap


Bioexploration in TanzaniaFrom 2007 to 2010 the Global Institute for Bioexploration-USA (GIBEX-USA) collaborated with the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania,a member of GIBEX-Africa institutions to:

  1. transfer, through appropriate training, the Screens-to-Nature (STN) technology to the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM;
  2. screen plant species for bioactive compounds and prioritize results; and
  3. generate licensing interests in identified bioactive leads among pharmaceutical and health care companies

Sponsors: National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; GIBEX-USA, and Phytomedics, Inc.


  • The STN technology was successfully transferred to UDSM during a 5-day training workshop held at UDSM, Tanzania, from April 16-20, 2007 (see photos).
  • The Bioexploration and Biodiversity Documentation (BBD) procedure and data entry into the NAtural Products Information Systems (NAPIS) database were successfully transferred to UDSM during the workshop stated above.
  • Partners at UDSM successfully used the STN technology to screen 220 plant species from the surroundings of UDSM, Morogoro and Pugu Forests near Utonga City; Changanyikeni Forest, Pande Forest Reserve, Ruvu Forest and the Eastern and Western Arc Mountains.
  • Based on STN results, plants were separated into a) Antimicrobial positives (APs), b) Amylase activity positives (AAPs), c) Amylase inhibition positives (AIPs) d) Protease inhibition positives (PIPs), and e) Antioxidant actives (AAs)
  • Of the 220 screened plant species there were, 99 APs, 57 AAPs, 10 AIPs, 85 PIPs and172 AAs
  • The BBD & STN data collected were entered into the NAPIS and STN databanks.
  • An Entrepreneurial workshop took place in Tanzania June 8-11, 2008, which brought together several public and private institutions to generate interest in the bio-exploration work at UDSM and explore collaborative opportunities among the groups represented at the workshop.
  • Avon, Inc. registered as a corporate member of the Global Institute for Bioexploration (GIBEX) as a result of the interest generated by the results of the STN work at UDSM and would consider licensing products from the bioexploration work at UDSM.
  • Phytomedics, L’Oreal, and McNeil Nutritionals LLC are interested in GIBEX’s bioexploration work at UDSM, especially the licensing of promising leads from extracts derived `from the plants to be selected for further screening.
  • The Institute of Traditional Medicine (ITM) at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar-es-Salaam, is enthusiastic to become engaged in the pharmaceutical bioexploration initiative at UDSM.


Rutgers, The State Univerisity of New Jersey, USA: Ilya Raskin, Albert Ayeni, Slavik Dushenkov, Georgie Fear, Sasha Eisenman
University of Illinois & North Carolina State University, USA: Mary Ann Lila
University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania: Mayunga Nkunya, Joseph Cosam, Clarence Mgina
Private Sector: Avons Inc., Phytomedics, McNeil Nutritionals LLC, L’Oreal

Contact Information

Ilya Raskin, Ph.D., raskin@aesop.rutgers.edu; 732-932-8165 x227
Albert Ayeni, Ph.D. ayeni@aesop.rutgers.edu; 732-932-9711 x211

Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers’ SEBS
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901