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Leigh Coultas

Medical Biology (W.E.H.I.)
endothelial cells
vascular biology
eye disease
blood vessels
cell death
Leigh Coultas's Profile Picture

Leigh Coultas

Medicine, Dentistry And Health Sciences
Primary Interest
Leigh Coultas's Profile Picture

Leigh Coultas


Our lab is interested in the molecular regulation of angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are formed from pre-existing vessels. This is a critical process for animal development and organ growth as it allows tissues to be adequately supplied with blood.

However, angiogenesis is also an important step during the development of a tumour, and unregulated angiogenesis can lead to conditions such as retinopathies. Thus a greater understanding of this process could have important clinical implications.

We have a particular interest in the regulation of the survival of endothelial cells that form the lining of blood vessel walls during angiogenesis. Our previous work has shown that endothelial cell survival is controlled by proteins belonging to the BCL2 family.

BCL2 family proteins are involved the regulation of cell death and cell survival in many cell types. Our research aims to identify which members of the BCL2 family are essential for endothelial cell survival and death during angiogenesis, and what regulates the life-or-death decision in these cells.

BCL2 family proteins are often dysregulated in cancer cells, making cells long-lived and resistant to chemotherapy. A new class of potential anti-cancer agents, called BH3-mimetics, prevent BCL2 family proteins from promoting cell survival. Our research into how BCL2 family proteins influence endothelial cell survival has the potential to highlight a role of BH3-minetics in preventing angiogenesis in tumours.
Research Interests

1. Understanding the role and regulation of apoptosis in endothelial cells

2. Discovery of BCL2 proteins essential for endothelial survival during angiogenesis

Scholarly Works

Displaying the 28 most recent scholarly works by Leigh Coultas.




Medical Biology (W.E.H.I.)


Doctor of Philosophy

University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

Adelaide University