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Our group is divided into two labs. One is focused in the optimisation of culture conditions for the growth and expansion of haematopoietic progenitor stem cells, whilst the second lab develops new protocols for gene editing and genomic analysis of selected cell models. The general theme of Borg group is to understand how the developmental globin gene switch is controlled and regulated by both in cis- and in trans- regulatory elements in human cell models.  We use  a combination of multi -omic approach that combines whole genome sequencing, RNA sequencing and ATAC sequencing on selected cell types and at different stages of lineage commitment. The group studies all aspects of gene control mechanisms including the enhancers, promoters and insulators, key transcription factors and co-factors that bind to them, the epigenetic modifications of chromatin and DNA hypersensitive sites across the whole genome, and chromosome conformation capture techniques (3C) and single cell genomics using next generation imaging techniques. The clinical material is obtained both from patients attending clinics at our National Hospital, and from specifically recruited participants with rare and unique phenotypes only present in Malta. The ultimate objective of our group is to devise ways on how to develop new treatment modalities aimed at treating and curing a wide range of blood disorders including the haemoglobinopathies.

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Our Team

Present Members 

Dr Elisa Seria (post doc)

Dr Gabriella Guo Sciriha (PhD)

Ms Joanna Vella (PhD)

Mr Alfred Buhagiar (M.Sc)

Ms Sharon Mangion (M.Sc)

Ms Michaela Buttigieg (M.Sc)

Ms Elena Spiteri (M.Sc)

Ms Nikita Camilleri (M.Sc)

Mr Nicholas Pederson (B.Sc)

Ms Rebecca Mohnani (B.Sc)




Higgs group

MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK

Philipsen group

Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Vladimir Benes

Genomics Core Facility, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany

Joe Lewis

Chemical Biology Core Facility, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany

Felice group

Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, UM,


BGI Genomics

Hong Kong,



Dr Daniel Farrugia (post doc)

Dr Laura Grech (post doc)

Ms Antonella Giordmaina (M.Sc)

Ms Sephora Camilleri (M.Sc)

Ms Rosanne Vella (M.Sc)

Mr Mark Briffa (M.Sc)

Mr Malcolm Pace (M.Sc)

Ms Seham Eljali (M.Sc)

Mr Gary Scerri (B.Sc)

Ms Daniela Camilleri (B.Sc)

Mr Jeremy Cutajar (B.Sc)

Mr Andreas Matusiak (B.Sc)

Ms Gabriella Sant (B.Sc)

Ms Jade Bartolo (B.Sc)

Ms Gabriella Sutton (B.Sc)

Ms Gabriella Azzopardi (B.Sc)

Mr Karl Xuereb (B.Sc)


Ms Maheswari Pandi (IND, EMBO STF)

Mr Samuel Petrucci (UK, Erasmus+)

Ms Milanca Sanca (UK, Erasmus+)

Ms Elisa Niemistö (FIN, Erasmus+)

Ms Ulla Immonen (FIN, Erasmus+)

Ms Taru Pekkarinen (FIN, Erasmus+)

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