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Maltese Academic Delivers Keynote Lecture at Prestigious Neuroscience Research Event

Neville VassalloDr Neville Vassallo, a Senior Resident Academic within the University of Malta’s Department of Physiology and Biochemistry recently delivered a keynote lecture, at the Centre for Neuropathology of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, as part of a seminar series being organised by the “Munich Excellence Cluster for Systems Neurology” (SyNergy). 

Dr Vassallo receives financial support from the Malta Council of Science and Technology through the National Research & Innovation Programme (R&I-2008-068 and R&I-2012-066) and from the University of Malta. 

The SyNergy cluster is a collaborative initiative involving the grouping together of top neuroscience research institutions in Germany. These include the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, the Technical University of Munich, the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), three Max Planck Institutes, and the Helmholtz Center Munich. The initiative is based on the outstanding expertise that these institutions have in a broad range of neurological diseases. The aim of SyNergy is to promote integrative research and eventually new therapeutic options.

Dr Vassallo's invited talk was entitled 'Amyloid-membrane interactions: a novel target for therapeutic intervention in neurodegenerative disease.' In his lecture, Dr Vassallo put forward a novel concept in the design and testing of new drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. He suggested that we should endeavour to develop compounds that block a key molecular interaction between toxic aggregates that accumulate in the brains of patients and mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of a brain cell. Dr Vassallo summarised recent work by his laboratory group at the Department of Physiology and Biochemistry strongly suggesting that naturally-occurring compounds called polyphenols, which are plant-derived metabolites found commonly in the human diet, may help stave off neurodegenerative disorders by such mechanisms. In fact, in collaboration with Dr Ruben Cauchi (Department. of Physiology and Biochemistry) select polyphenols are currently being tested in fly models of neurodegenerative diseases. 


The talk was very well received and has laid the foundation for further collaborative research and student exchanges between the University of Malta and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. This will lead to enhanced prestige for the University of Malta as a centre of research excellence on neurodegenerative diseases.

ZNP - Synergy


07 August 2014

Malta Review of Educational Research

Vol.8 no.1 of the Malta Review of Educational Research (MRER) has just been published. The international, electronic, fully-refereed, open access journal is available at

Vol.8 no.1 is a general issue, featuring five papers, two commentaries and three book reviews. 

Prof. Carmel Borg is editor of MRER as well as coordinator of the MRER project.


30 July 2014

The Edward de Bono Institute Joins ThinkCIQ

The Edward de Bono Institute joins ThinkCIQ: India’s Creativity and Intelligences Quest

Dr Leonie Baldacchino, Director of the Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking at the University of Malta, recently addressed a conference in Bangalore, India, entitled 'ThinkCIQ: Creativity and Intelligences Quest'. This conference, which took place over three days from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 July at the NIMHANS Convention Centre, marked the inauguration of a new initiative which aims to foster thinking and nurture talents among young people in India. 'Young people are a country’s greatest resource', explains Dr Baldacchino, 'and each country should nurture and prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the future. In a system that is inevitably preparing children for jobs that do not yet exist or that may be obsolete by the time they finish school, what they really need is to learn how to think, adapt, and recognise opportunities. This requires the development of creative and entrepreneurial mindsets'. 

Dr Baldacchino delivered a keynote speech and participated in panel discussions on thinking, creativity and entrepreneurship alongside other internationally acclaimed speakers including Dr Sumantra Chaterjee from the Centre for Brain Development and Repair in Bangalore, Professor David Yun Dai from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and Mr Peter Hall Jones from The Curriculum Foundation in the UK. In addition to the ThinkCIQ conference, which is planned to take place on an annual basis, this initiative includes a new quarterly journal and an online interactive portal where educators, parents, children and other stakeholders can share their ideas on how to foster thinking and nurture talents (

Dr Baldacchino’s participation in this event was brought about through the close collaboration that the University of Malta has developed with GEAR Foundation led by Dr M Srinivasan, Chairman of GEAR Innovative International School in Bangalore and co-founder of ThinkCIQ. Her visit was coordinated by the University of Malta’s International and EU Office and she was accompanied by Ms Megha Srivastav, the University of Malta’s Head of Operations in India.  Plans are underway for the Edward de Bono Institute to contribute further to the ThinkCIQ initiative by means of a workshop for Indian principals and heads of schools on fostering creativity and entrepreneurship through education. The Edward de Bono Institute currently offers a Master in Creativity and Innovation at the University of Malta (full-time and part-time options are available) as well as an online International MSc in Strategic Innovation and Future Creation in collaboration with the University of Potsdam (Germany) and the University of Turku (Finland).  

For further information please visit or send an email.

Panel discussion (right to left): Dr Leonie Baldacchino, Prof. David Yun Dai, Mr Peter Hall, Dr M. Srinvasan, and a parent representative from the audience


25 July 2014

Europe's World

Europe’s World is the only independent Europe-wide policy journal, produced in association with some 100-plus leading European think tanks and academic institutions. Since its launch in 2005 it has become the premier ideas platform for new thinking on political, economic and social issues, read by over 100,000 of the most influential decision makers and opinion formers across Europe.

Published every 4 months, Europe’s World’s objective is to stimulate the much needed debate over topical policy issues by encouraging citizens and stakeholders within civil society, media, academia, business and government, to engage in a series of genuine and informed political debates which reach beyond the Brussels village.

To date over 300 authors, including Heads of State, corporate chiefs, top academics, leading NGO activists or policymakers, have contributed articles, firmly cementing Europe’s World’s reputation as a platform for new thinking and ground-breaking ideas.

Europe’s World’s newly extended website,, is designed to further promote debate on the policy challenges facing Europe. It spans articles and reactions to articles published in Europe’s World, but is not limited to the journal since it also features studies and reports from think tanks throughout Europe.

Its aim is to give readers direct access to the latest in policy thinking across the EU, and encourage visitors to submit their own reports and comment on any of the contributions featured on the website. 


06 November 2009


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