Prof Pierre Schembri Wismayer

Prof Pierre Schembri Wismayer

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine

Prof Pierre Schembri Wismayer read for his undergraduate degree at the University of Malta and after two years of housemanship and having received his warrant, he did some voluntary medical work in Kenya and then left to pursue his PhD in molecular Oncology at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in affiliation with Glasgow University.

Before joining the University of Malta’s Dept. of Anatomy, Prof Schembri-Wismayer worked in St Luke’s teaching hospital in the department of Accident and Emergency medicine as well as in the National Blood Transfusion centre. He also worked part time for a biotech company called Atheneum biotechnology where he was involved in isolating and freezing cells from the last pure Maltese ox specimen.

Prof Schembri-Wismayer is a great believer in science education and won a contract with the EU’s FP6 to produce an international television series, later called X-lab, broadcast in Malta and Cyprus to encourage youngsters to take part in and possibly take up science as a career as well as highlighting local scientific heroes for Maltese students.

Prof Schembri-Wismayer regularly talks locally about the benefits of cord blood stem cell banking and was for a long time the Programme committee expert for the Malta council of science and technology in relation to the Life sciences.

Research, primarily into stem cells, differentiation and cancer is, of course, a large part of Prof Schembri-Wismayer’s work where he is supervisor to several Ph.D’s and Masters students but he also has time for an extensive undergraduate teaching load both in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery as well as in the Faculty of Health sciences.

He regularly collaborates in this regard with local industry, in particular the biotech company, Institute for Cellular Pharmacology and is present part of a COST action about Cancer Stem cells.

Research interest: Leukaemia differentation, Cancer stem cells, Stem cell expansion and differentiation, Natural product bioactivity analysis, Transcriptional regulation

Differentiation Therapy: A Cure For Childhood Cancer?

Selected Publications:

  • Baron, B. & Schembri-Wismayer, P. (2011) “Using the distribution of the CCR5-Delta32 allele in third-generation Maltese citizens to disprove the Black Death hypothesis”, International journal of immunogenetics, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 139-143.
  • Calleja-Agius, J., Schembri-Wismayer, P., Calleja, N., Brincat, M. & Spiteri, D. (2011) “Obstetric outcome and cytokine levels in threatened miscarriage”, Gynecological endocrinology : the official journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 121-127.
  • Mallia, R., Mangion, J., Camenzuli, C., Cassar, A., Cacciottolo, P., Cauchi, J., Borg, J., Ali, S. & Schembri-Wismayer, P. (2011) “HPV positivity varies with technique and primer set, in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded benign and malignant breast tissue from Malta”, American Journal of Molecular Biology, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 183-188.
  • Darmanin, S., Wismayer, P.S., Camilleri Podesta, M.T., Micallef, M.J. & Buhagiar, J.A. (2009) “An extract from Ricinus communis L. leaves possesses cytotoxic properties and induces apoptosis in SK-MEL-28 human melanoma cells”, Natural Product Research, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 561-571.
  • Pulis, S., Scerri, C.A., Schembri Wismayer, P., Galdies, R., Bezzina Wettinger, S. & Felice, A.E.  (2007) “Developmental effect of the Xmn I site on G?-globin gene expression among newborn Hb F-Malta-I [G?117 (G19) His-> Arg, CAT-> CGT] heterozygotes and adult ? -thalassemia homozygotes”, Hemoglobin, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 71-82.