University of Malta

Dr Godfrey Grech
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Dr Godfrey Grech

Qualification and Experience

Coordinator of the M.Sc. Biomedical Sciences, Lecturer at the Department of Pathology, University of Malta. Obtained his Ph.D. in 2006, describing the role of PI3K-dependent translation of structured mRNAs in inhibiting differentiation of hematopoietic progenitors. Comparison of expression profiling data obtained with polysome bound and total mRNA has yielded a vast number of mRNAs that are differentially recruited to polysomes in presence and absence of growth and survival signals. During his last year of Ph.D., he supervised a Ph.D. student who started in line with the results obtained. His experience in bioinformatics allowed him to work closely with EU network collaborators to analyse microarray data in view of the specific questions of their research. In addition he gained experience in training of undergraduate students in molecular techniques (1 for a 9 month period and 2 for 4 months period) and acquired good communication skills and public speaking through active participation in international conferences

Research Capacity

His research has taken him through a wide circle of  large scale mRNA profiling, target selection and validation, functional analysis in cell culture systems and analysis of the relevance of results for diagnosis and treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia in man. 
Currently, his research is directed to study new combinatory treatments for inducing apoptosis specifically in a range of solid tumour cells. To achieve this, 6 human cell lines fully validated as orthotopic xenograft models are in use and the effect on molecular pathways as a result of the combinatory treatment will be assessed in view of induction of apoptosis. The genes identified are potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets. The results obtained will form the basis of future in vivo studies which is possible since the models used mimic at best what happen with cancer patients. For this project the technology of isolating polysome bound mRNAs from the cells will increase the value of the data obtained, since the RNA transcripts that are translated at the time of cell lysis will be assessed. This is a standard technology used by Erasmus Medical Centre (EMC).

Selected References

Grech, G., Blazquez-Domingo, M., Kolbus, A., Bakker, W.J., Mullner, E.W., Beug, H., and von Lindern, M. 2008. Igbp1 is part of a positive feed-back loop in SCF-dependent, selective mRNA translation initiation inhibiting erythroid differentiation. Blood 2008 Oct 1;112(7):2750-60.

Grech, G., Blazquez-Domingo, M., and von Lindern, M. 2005. Translation Initiation Factor 4E Inhibits Differentiation of Erythroid Progenitors. Mol Cell Biol 25(19): 8496-8506.

Grech, G., Blazquez-Domingo, M., Kolbus, A., Bakker, W., Dolznig, H., Lowenberg, B., Beug, H., and von Lindern, M. 2004. The Regulation of mRNA Translation Controls the Balance between Expansion and Differentiation of Erythroid Progenitors. ASH Annual Meeting Oral Presentation Abstracts Blood 104(11): 462-.

Grech, G., Blazquez-Domingo, M., Kolbus, A., Beug, H., Lowenberg, B., and von Lindern, M. 2005. Translation of IGBP1 mRNA Contributes to the Regulation of Expansion and Differentiation of Erythroid Progenitors. ASH Annual Meeting Oral Presentation Abstracts Blood 106(11): 72-

Grech G, Kolbus A., Blazquez-Domingo M, Dolznig H, Bakker W, Tamir I, Waerner T, Seither P, Weith A, Mullner E, von Lindern M, Beug H. 2008.  Factor-dependent regulation of gene expression during expansion and differentiation of erythroid progenitors: regulation of mRNA translation. in preparation.

[Impact Factor:           Molecular Cell Biology (2005)                  7.8

                                    Blood   (2008)                                      10.37]



PAPERS:  Collaborating Author

Grosso, A.R., Gomes, A.Q., Barbosa-Morais, N.L., Caldeira, S., Thorne, N.P., Grech, G., von Lindern, M., and Carmo-Fonseca, M. 2008. Tissue-specific splicing factor gene expression signatures. Nucl Acids Res 36(15): 4823-4832.

Andrzej Nieradka, Godfrey Grech, Montserrat Blazquez-Domingo, Hartmut Beug, Marieke von Lindern.  2007  Translation of IGBP1 mRNA contributes to the regulation of expansion and differentiation of erythroid progenitors.

Blood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases, 38(2): p. 162-163.


[Impact Factor:           Nucleic Acids Research (2008)                                 6.954

                                   Blood Cells, Molecules, and Diseases (2007)            2.555]





Tripoli Medical Centre, Libya

Invited by: Dr Guima Salem Gimil

August 23, 2008


Infectious and Endemic Diseases Scientific Conference

Tripoli, Libya

May, 2007


Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

Invited by: Prof. Doug Higgs

November 23, 2005


Istituto Superiore di Sanita`, Rome, Italy

Invited by: Prof Anna Rita Migliaccio

September 22-23, 2005


Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria

Invited by: Prof. Hartmut Beug

July 27-29, 2004


Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Lyon, France

Invited by: Prof. Jacques Samarut

January 16-17, 2004



POSTERS:  First Author


COST E 39 conference

In vitro investigation of osteogenesis bioactivity of extracts from indegenous plants and measurement of estrogen growth factor response

MALTA, November 2007


Erasmus Workshop on Molecular Therapeutics in Acute Leukemia

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

October 7-8, 2005


FEBS, Dubrovnik Signaling Course

Dubrovnik, Croatia

May 21-27, 2004


Erasmus Workshop on Molecular Therapeutics in Acute Leukemia 

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

September 12-13, 2003



POSTERS:  Collaborating Author


SCF Enhances expansion of erythroid progenitors through control of mRNA translation. 

A.Nieradka, G Grech, M. von Lindern

11th Annual Molecular Medicine Day, Rotterdam, 

February, 2007


Selective mRNA translation in response to PI3K activation controls erythropoiesis.

Marieke von Lindern, Andrzej Nieradka, Cindy Luesink, Godfrey Grech, Montse Blazquez-Domingo, Andrea Kolbus, Hartmut Beug

ELSO 2007 Poster, 2007.


Hyperoxia Induces Defective Epo-Induced Signal Transduction and Loss of Expansion Capacity in Fanca- and Fancg-Deficient Erythroid Progenitors.

von Lindern, M., van den Akker, E., van de Vrugt, H., Grech, G., Arwert, F., Lowenberg, B., and Touw, I.

ASH Annual Meeting Abstracts Blood 104(11): 2837-.

December, 2004.





Sixth Malta Medical School Conference Oral Presentation

Radisson SAS Baypoint Resort, St. Julians, Malta.

30th November – 2nd December 2006


European Hematology Association 2006 Oral Presentation

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

June 15-18, 2006


Najaarsconferentie 2005 NVvH  Oral presentation

Lunteren, The Netherlands

November 2-4, 2005


Najaarsconferentie 2004 NVvH Oral presentation

Lunteren, The Netherlands

November 3-5, 2004





NWO fund of Euro30,000 for the period June to October 2006 to support the Genomics project at Erasmus MC (Jacques Philipsen; M von Lindern) “the molecular mechanisms in Erythropoiesis” (Dutch fund).




University of Malta fund of Euro 7000 for the year 2008 to support the project namely 'The role of mTOR pathway in leukmogenesis'.


University of Malta fund of Euro 9150 for the year 2008 to support the project namely 'Enhanced efficacy of bioactive compounds: Targeting isoprenylation in cancer cells to mediate apoptosis'.





European Haematology Association

Malta College of Pathologists

European Society of Pathology

Board of Studies, MSc Pathology (Coordinator) 

Genetics Steering Committee, Mater Dei Hospital 




Member of the International Scientific Council of the European Group for Molecular Pathology.


Dr Godfrey Grech, lecturer at the Department of Pathology, was nominated as a member of the International Scientific Council of the European Group for Molecular Pathology (EMP).  The aims of the EMP are to formulate educational programs in Molecular Pathology, harmonise molecular applications and protocols, organise quality control programs, design of international research projects, define organizational rules for tissue banking and establish analysis of the bioethical problems in Molecular Pathology.  For further information please visit the website.




Last Updated: 20 February 2010

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