Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 May, 2023 at 11:29 am by Andre Camilleri
The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola made an official visit to the University of Malta on Tuesday where she met researchers, scientists, engineers and students.
Greeted by the University Rector Prof Alfred Vella, the President first visited the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Biobanking, which currently houses 60 researchers.
Researchers told the President that major inroads have been made to date on basic and applied research with respect to blood disorders, breast cancer, Leukaemia, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Colorectal cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke and some others.
The Director of Centre, Professor Richard Muscat, explained how a group of Maltese researchers made a breakthrough in the treatment of ALS.
The Maltese researchers have identified which gene in ALS patients could be targeted by treatment to stop or slow the disease, in a breakthrough study of international significance. The discovery was made at the University of Malta with the help of fruit flies, whose DNA sequence overlaps with that of human beings by 75 per cent.
President Metsola also visited a number of laboratories, including the Fly Laboratory, the Metallurgy and Materials Labs, and Engineering Laboratories.
President Metsola thanked the researchers for their crucial work.
“Europe needs more of your research, of your ideas, of your ambition to find the solutions and the treatments needed today. This is why the European Union will continue to invest in research and innovation,” she added.
Since 2002, the University of Malta has been awarded €73.7 million worth of research funding from EU sources, mostly from Framework Programme (Horizon) projects, and Erasmus. This funding was spread over 550 projects involving 1,200 researchers and academics. The University also benefited from €137 million worth of funding for capital and social projects under ERDF or ESF schemes since 2008.
The President of the European Parliament also visited the ‘European bench’ at the University of Malta Campus in Msida. An initiative brought to Malta by the Young European Federalists (JEF) with the support of the European Parliament Office in Malta. The initiative aims to create spaces that foster dialogue, understanding, and collaboration among individuals from different European countries and promote European integration.
President Metsola met with the outgoing and newly elected members of Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU) – the University of Malta’s student body. During the meeting the President discussed issues related to education in Malta and encouraged the newly appointed executive to work on engaging more student activism.