with specialised studies in Genetics at the State University of Milan, Italy, followed by a PhD in Biotechnology/Molecular Biolo-gy from Cranfield University, U.K. For several years, she was Associate Professor in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Malta where, at present, she is Senior Research Adviser.
Rena Balzan was born in 1946 in Siġġiewi where she was also raised and attended primary school. Her interest in literature and science coexisted from an early age. Despite an unpopular choice for teenage girls at the time, by secondary school she knew she wanted to study sciences choosing physics, chemistry and biology for further study. By that time she had also started dabbling in writing poetry and had been deeply immersed in Victorian literature having read many of the novels by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and Emily Bronte. During the first years following the founding of the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju in 1967 Balzan was in the orbit of the literary movement while also taken up by her university studies - she published her first work, the Maltese-language poetry and short-story collection Ilwien Moħbija (Veritas Press), a few years later in 1973. Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies Turġien (Gulf Publishing Ltd, 1983) and Alfa (Union Print, 2000) and selections have been translated in English, French, Italian and German.