Neville Vassallo is an Associate Professor within the Dept. of Physiology & Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta. After obtaining his M.D. at the University of Malta Medical School, he trained in molecular biology and biochemistry at the Dept. of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Malta. He furthered his Ph.D. studies and later postdoctoral training in the fields of neurodegenerative diseases and protein misfolding at the Centre for Neuropathology of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich (LMU), Germany.
Since 2008, Prof. Vassallo leads a research group dedicated to investigating the role of amyloid protein aggregation in diseases like Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and type-2 diabetes. In particular, his published work has contributed to establishing the importance of mitochondrial damage through membrane pore formation as a unifying toxic mechanism shared by multiple amyloid proteins. Amyloidogenic proteins studied include recombinant human amyloid-β, α-synuclein, tau, the islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) and E.coli HypF-N. His research is also strongly allied to drug discovery, and work is ongoing to screen innovative drug-like compounds, as well as natural plant extracts, for biological activity and as a starting point for drug development. The goal is to identify compounds that are able to interfere with the protein aggregation process, antagonise protein-lipid interactions and block pore activity in the membranes.
Prof. Vassallo has forged close collaborations with Prof. Christian Griesinger at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences in Göttingen, Germany; Prof. Armin Giese at the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease Research in Munich; Prof. Fabrizio Chiti at the University of Florence, Italy; and Prof. Alfonso de Simone at University of Naples Federico II and the Imperial College London, UK.
Prof. Vassallo is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Physiological Society, the European Society for Neurochemistry, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, Member of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, a Member of the Royal Society of Biology (MRSB), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC).