Prof. Alfred J Vella

Prof. Alfred J Vella

Prof. Alfred J Vella



Rector's Office
Administration Building
University of Malta
  +356 21 333907

Alfred J. Vella is the Rector of the University of Malta as from July 2016. He graduated BSc in physics and chemistry in 1971 and MSc in chemistry in 1975, both degrees from the University of Malta and PhD in organic geochemistry in 1984 from Colorado School of Mines (USA). He has lectured at the University of Malta since 1987 and is currently professor of chemistry and teaches mainly in the area of environmental chemistry. He has also taught general and organic chemistry and chemistry of natural products. Having taught chemistry since 1968 and at all levels, Professor Vella participated actively in syllabus design and development in Advanced and Intermediate Matriculation Chemistry. Professor Vella served for many years as Head of Department of Chemistry and between 1997 and 2007 was also Dean of the Faculty of Science. He served as Pro-Rector for Academic Affairs between July 2006 and June 2016 and in this capacity headed several Senate Sub-Committees including the PhD Committee and the Programme Validation Committee, the latter body being responsible for ensuring internal quality assurance processes at the University in accordance with the Bologna Process and associated standards and guidelines.

During the past 30 years, Professor Vella's commitments as an academic frequently extended beyond university walls, having regularly acted as court forensic expert in judicial inquiries on chemical accidents, fire and explosion. He has consulted on environmental and other scientific matters to the Government of Malta and local firms and industrial concerns. Prof Vella was a member of the Board of the Planning Authority (1992-98), the Malta Council of Science and Technology (1997-98; 2009-16), Malta Centre for Restoration (2003-5), Heritage Malta (2005-8). He is currently a member of the Environmental Resources Authority and directs the Malta National Authority for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Professor Vella's research interests are mainly in the area of environmental chemistry and he publishes in this area. He is also a reviewer for a number of international journals including Atmospheric Environment, Environmental Pollution and Chemosphere.

  • Environmental chemistry
  • Environmental monitoring

Vella, A., Aquilina, B., Delicata, F. & Farrugia, A. 2012, "Perchlorates in dust fall: evidence of environmental contamination by fireworks in Malta", Proceedings of the thirteenth International Symposium on Fireworks April 23-27, pp. 389.

Camilleri, R. & Vella, A. 2010, "Effects of fireworks on ambient air quality in Malta", Atmospheric Environment, vol. 44, pp. 4521-4527.

Vella, A. & Decelis, R. 2007, "Contamination of outdoor settled dust by butylins in Malta", Applied Organometal Chemistry, vol. v. 21, pp. 239-245.

Said Pullicino, D. & Vella, A. 2005, "Adsorption characteristics of tributylin on municipal solid waste compost ", Applied Organometal Chemistry, vol. v. 19, pp. 719-726.

Vassallo, R. & Vella, A. 2002, "Sorption of tributylin by municipal solid waste compost", Applied Organometal Chemistry, vol. 16, pp. 21-26.

Vella, A. & Vassallo, R. 2002, "Emission to air of volatile organotins from TBT-contaminated harbour sediments", Applied Organometal Chemistry, vol. 16, pp. 239-244.

Vella, A. & Tabone Adami, J. 2001, "Preliminary evidence for in vitro methylation of tributylin in a marine sediment", Applied Organometal Chemistry, vol. 15, pp. 901-906.

Vella, A., Mintoff, B., Axiak, V., Agius, D. & Cassone, R. 1998, "Organotin pollution in Malta coastal zone", Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry, vol. 67, no. 3-4, pp. 491-510.

Vella, A. 1996, "Arson fire as a cause of explosion in limestone buildings", Fire and Arson Investigator, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 10-14.

Vella, A. 1992, "Arson investigation using the Ion Trap Detector", Journal of Forensic Science Society, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 131-142.

  • CHE2070 - Introductory Environmental Chemistry
  • CHE2075 - Introductory Environmental Chemistry
  • CHE3470 - Environmental Chemistry
  • MSS2011 - Forensic Science
Research Work in Progress

Studies on the environmental effects of firework displays.

Investigations on the fate and persistence of tributyltin compounds in the environment.


Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
Chartered Chemist
Chartered Scientist