University of Malta

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The UNIVERSITY OF MALTA (UoM) traces its origins to the founding of the Collegium Melitense by the Jesuits in 1592 and was raised to University status by Grand Master Manoel Pinto de Fonseca in 1769. Situated at Msida, it is the highest teaching institution of Malta and the supreme governing bodies are the Council and the Senate.  

The Department of Applied Biomedical science within the Faculty of Health Sciences has an active research programme.


The UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE (UCAM) was founded in 1209 and is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. It has more than 18,000 students from all over the world and nearly 9,000 staff, 31 Colleges and 150 Departments organised in 5 Schools.    cambridge-Copy

The Ouwehand group focuses on human megakaryocyte and platelet biology. Their primary interest is in unravelling the relationship between sequence variation and its effect on platelets. The group’s research in megakaryocyte and platelet biology and genomics is one of the largest in Europe and focuses primarily on the relationship between sequence variation in genes transcribed in megakaryocytes and the volume, count and function of platelets. A multidisciplinary team of 60 scientists with skills in molecular biology, protein biochemistry, antibody engineering, genomics, and bioinformatics work together on different aspects of human platelets. The group extensively collaborates with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit. 

Professor Willem Ouwehand leads the Ouwehand group. He is a professor of Experimental Haemotology, an Honorary Consultant of Haematology and an Honorary Member of the Sanger Institute. His research interests include haematology, haematopoiesis, rare diseases of the blood, platelet biology, immunology, genetics and genomics.



KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN (KU Leuven) is Belgium's largest university and, founded in 1425, is one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe. It is a leading European research university and co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and European surveys rank it among the top European universities in terms of research output. 


Within the Faculty of Medicine at KU Leuven, a significant effort is invested in the operation of different Core Facilities including an Aquatic facility with zebrafish housing and equipment for manipulations. The Aquatic facility of the KU Leuven has different transgenic Zebrafish models to study the development and function of heart (Cmlc2), endothelium (Fli1), different blood cells (cd41,G), brain (Ath5, Tuba1) and others to characterise diseases that are related to different cellular systems. The faculty has used combined approaches of gene depletion via morpholinos (MO) and upregulation of genes via the injection of capped and polyadenylated wild type or mutant mRNAs to study Niemann Pick type C1 disease, blood cell defects in PEAR1 and RGS18 depleted fish, thrombocytopenia due to injection of a human antibody, and neural tube deformities due to genes with altered methylation patterns in spina bifida. Currently, the development of the CRISPR technology as alternative for MOs is under evaluation. 

The Platelet Biology Research group is part of the Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences.

Professor Kathleen Freson is one of the principle investigators of the group. Her research interests include the study of signal transduction pathways in platelets at the clinical, biochemical, and molecular level especially the role of different G-proteins and proteins involved in granule formation, transport and secretion. 

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Last Updated: 5 October 2017

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