Master Teacher Award - Fall 1984
Dr. Frank Vella was born in Malta in 1929. He was educated at St. Joseph Convent, Sliema, Malta Lyceum, and the Royal University of Malta. He graduated with a B.Sc. in 1949 and a MD in 1952. He was elected Rhodes Scholar for Malta for 1952. He studied Physiology and Biochemistry at St. John's College, University of Oxford. While there, he conducted some research in Clinical Biochemistry at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford and was the May Goodger Scholar at the University of Oxford. He graduated with a BA (Honours) in 1954 and MA in 1958.
He then served as an assistant lecturer and then lecturer in Biochemistry at Medical College of the University of Malaya in Singapore (1956-60). He was senior Lecturer and then Reader in Biochemistry at the Medical College of the University of Khartoum, Sudan (1960-65). He graduated with his PhD from the University of Singapore in 1962. He was appointed Associate Professor in Biochemistry at the Medical College of the University of Saskatchewan and then full professor in 1971. He was a Visiting Professor at MRC Abnormal Hemoglobins Research Unit at Cambridge University in 1973-74.
For many years, Dr. Vella was Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Chemistry, and Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK).
Dr. Vella has won several awards including Preclinical Teacher of the Year in 1971 at the University of Saskatchewan as well as the Master Teacher Award in 1984. He has also received the Ecumenical Award of the Saskatchewan Knights of Columbus in 1971 and Knighthood of the Order of St. Sylvester by Pope Paul VI in 1965.
He has served as a member and then Chair (1982-91) of the Committee on Education of IUBMB. During this period, he organized and conducted some 25 workshops on Biochemical Education in as many countries and was a frequently invited speaker at national, regional and international scientific meetings.
Dr. Vella was a pioneer in the study of hemoglobinopathies, thalassemias and erthrocyte enzyme deficiencies.
He has published numerous papers on these topics and on biochemical education. He has also been a prolific reviewer of textbooks and a technical consultant in the production of several textbooks. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Hemoglobin, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology International and Biochemical Education.
In 1989, he was awarded a DSc (honoris causa) by the University of Malta. He retired from the U of S in 1996.