Leigh Coultas-Projects

Leigh Coultas-Projects



Apoptosis regulation in endothelial cells

Angiogenesis involves the proliferation, differentiation, maturation, remodeling and in some cases regression, of blood vessels and their constituent cell types such as endothelial cells. Apoptosis (programmed cell death), is active during normal angiogenesis in endothelial cells that are selectively removed from the vasculature during the maturation of the newly forming vessel networks.

Our research is defining the role and regulation of cell survival during angiogenic vessel growth and the roles of cell death in promoting vessel remodelling and regression. Student research opportunities are currently available in this project area.


  1. Watson EC, Grant ZL, Coultas L. Endothelial cell apoptosis in angiogenesis and vessel regression. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017 Jun. PMID: 28646366
  2. Watson EC, Koenig MN, Grant ZL, Whitehead L, Trounson E, Dewson G, Coultas L. Apoptosis regulates endothelial cell number and capillary vessel diameter but not vessel regression during retinal angiogenesis. Development. 2016 Jul 28. PMID: 27471260.
  3. Watson EC, Whitehead L, Adams RH, Dewson G, Coultas L. Endothelial cell survival during angiogenesis requires the pro-survival protein MCL1. Cell Death Differ. 2016 Aug;23(8):1371-9. PMID: 26943318.
  4. Koenig MN, Naik E, Rohrbeck L, Herold MJ, Trounson E, Bouillet P, Thomas T, Voss AK, Strasser A, Coultas L. Pro-apoptotic BIM is an essential initiator of physiological endothelial cell death independent of regulation by FOXO3. Cell Death Differ. 2014 Jun 27. PMID: 24971484.
  5. Naik E, O'Reilly LA, Asselin-Labat ML, Merino D, Lin A, Cook M, Coultas L, Bouillet P, Adams JM, Strasser A. Destruction of tumor vasculature and abated tumor growth upon VEGF blockade is driven by proapoptotic protein Bim in endothelial cells. J Exp Med. 2011 Jul 4;208(7):1351-8. PMID: 21646395.

Art of Science image
Abnormalities in blood vessels underlie many eye diseases, including macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. 
Image: Flame Tree, Emma Watson, 2015 Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Art of Science finalist.