Professor Elizabeth Coulson

Head of School

School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine


Queensland Brain Institute
+61 7 336 52905
+61 7 336 59022


Professor Elizabeth (Lizzie) Coulson did her undergraduate Honours degree at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Genetics and Biochemistry. Her PhD (1997) in the Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, with Professor Colin Masters, was on the normal function of the amyloid precursor protein of Alzheimer’s disease. Following a year at the ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Germany, she pursued postdoctoral work studying neuronal cell death in neurodegeneration and development at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute with Professor Perry Bartlett before being recruited in 2003 to the University of Queensland as a founding member of the Queensland Brain Institute. She was appointed Professor in 2015, joining the School of Biomedical Sciences and becoming Deputy Head of School in 2016/7 and 2019 and Head of School in 2020. She maintains a 20% Queensland Brain Institutes appointment and is a member of the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research.

Her Lab webpage is: Coulson Lab - Neurotrophin - School of Biomedical Sciences ...

Research Interests

  • Role of p75NTR in neurodegenerative disease.
    The laboratory recently reported that p75NTR death signalling can be promoted by amyloid-ß peptide that characteristically accumulates in Alzheimer’s disease. We are investigating the regulation and activation of p75NTR death signalling in cholinergic neurons in this condition, and testing whether disrupting p75NTR function can prevent cholinergic degeneration, and cognitive decline, in animal models. As an extension of this work we are developing methods to assess cholinergic degeneration and amyloid plaque deposition in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • How neurotransmitter- and neurotrophin-mediated signals determine cell survival.
    We are investigating the basic molecular mechanisms by which neurotransmitter receptor activation and receptor trafficking affect p75NTR activation and subsequent death signalling using molecular and biochemical techniques in in vitro and in vivo models. We are also investigating the role of p75NTR cleavage in promoting death signalling, using confocal microscopy techniques to image live cells and cell membranes in real time. This project will lead to a greater understanding of p75NTR biology, and will also provide knowledge of the kinetics of p75NTR-mediated death signals and the time frame within which they can be inhibited.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Science (Advanced), University of Melbourne


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View all Grants


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Book Chapter

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Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision