Dr Victoria Heath MA, DPhil

Victoria Heath

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology
Interim Deputy Director of Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (Education)

Contact details

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Victoria Heath is a Senior Lecturer based in the Institute of Cardiovascular Research.  Her research is focused on the molecular regulation of blood vessel formation.  She is currently interim deputy director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences focussing on education.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2013
  • DPhil in immunology, University of Oxford, 1997
  • MA in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge,1994


Victoria Heath is a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Birmingham. She did her undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, followed by a DPhil in the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit in the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University. She then did post-doctoral work at both DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, working on cell signalling in T helper cell differentiation and at Stanford University on calcium signalling in budding yeast.

She returned to the UK and worked as a Beit Memorial Fellow in the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham studying phosphoinositide signalling joining the Molecular Angiogenesis group as a Lecturer in 2006. Since then, her work is focused on identifying the roles of various endothelial expressed signalling molecules in endothelial cell biology and in the development of new blood vessels.  She has received funding from the British Heart Foundation and Medical Research Council and trained a number of PhD students in this field.

She is interested in developing education within the University of Birmingham and has set up and developed number of modules on a range of programmes including the Biomedical Sciences BSc,  the intercalated Clinical Science BMedSc degree and as part of the Birmingham Foundation Academy.


Postgraduate supervision

Victoria is keen to supervise students in the field of molecular regulation of blood vessel formation both in the context of normal development and cancer biology.  Please email v.heath@bham.ac.uk to make enquiries.

Current PhD students: Werther Vecchiato, Mona Salem

Previous PhD students: Sukhbir Kaur, Katarzyna Leszczynska, Eleanor Wilson and Victoria Simms. 


Research Themes

Cardiovascular Sciences and Cancer biology

Research Activity

Victoria is interested in determining the role of novel endothelial expressed genes in endothelial cell biology and angiogenesis. Angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels, plays a critical role in tumour growth and metastasis as well as in diseases such as atherosclerosis. A current interest of our group is to determine the biological role of RhoJ, a small Rho GTPase, in endothelial cells.   This gene, which is closely related to Cdc42, is highly and specifically expressed in endothelial cells and is involved in regulating endothelial cell movement and in vitro tube formation. We have identified the binding partners of RhoJ and are continuing to explore the molecular regulation of this Rho GTPase and its role in various models of angiogenesis in vivo. 

In addition, we have identified some novel cell surface proteins involved in angiogenesis and are determining their molecular function and role in vessel formation.       


Recent publications


Buckley, CM, Heath, VL, Guého, A, Bosmani, C, Knobloch, P, Sikakana, P, Personnic, N, Dove, SK, Michell, RH, Meier, R, Hilbi, H, Soldati, T, Insall, RH & King, JS 2019, 'PIKfyve/Fab1 is required for efficient V-ATPase and hydrolase delivery to phagosomes, phagosomal killing, and restriction of Legionella infection', PLoS pathogens, vol. 15, no. 2, e1007551, pp. e1007551. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007551

Noy, PJ, Gavin, RL, Colombo, D, Haining, EJ, Reyat, JS, Payne, H, Thielmann, I, Lokman, AB, Neag, G, Yang, J, Lloyd, T, Harrison, N, Heath, VL, Gardiner, C, Whitworth, KM, Robinson, J, Koo, CZ, Di Maio, A, Harrison, P, Lee, SP, Michelangeli, F, Kalia, N, Rainger, GE, Nieswandt, B, Brill, A, Watson, SP & Tomlinson, MG 2019, 'Tspan18 is a novel regulator of the Ca2+ channel Orai1 and von Willebrand factor release in endothelial cells', Haematologica, vol. 104, no. 9, pp. 1892-1905. https://doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2018.194241

Simms, V, Bicknell, R & Heath, V 2017, 'Development of an ImageJ-based method for analysing the developing zebrafish vasculature', Vascular Cell, vol. 9, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.24238/13221-9-1-172

Alghanem, AF, Wilkinson, EL, Emmett, MS, Aljasir, MA, Holmes, K, Rothermel, BA, Simms, VA, Heath, VL & Cross, MJ 2017, 'RCAN1.4 regulates VEGFR-2 internalisation, cell polarity and migration in human microvascular endothelial cells', Angiogenesis, vol. 20, pp. 341–358. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10456-017-9542-0

Wragg, J, Heath, V & Bicknell, R 2017, 'Sunitinib treatment enhances metastasis of innately drug resistant breast tumors', Cancer Research, vol. 77, no. 4, pp. 1008-1020. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-1982

Ferguson, H, Wragg, J, Ward, S, Heath, V, Ismail, T & Bicknell, R 2016, 'Glutamate Receptor 2D is a novel angiogenic tumour endothelial marker in colorectal cancer', OncoTarget, vol. 7, no. 15, pp. 20440-20454. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7812

Wragg, J, Finnity, J, Anderson, J, Ferguson, H, Porfiri, E, Bhatt, R, Murray, P, Heath, V & Bicknell, R 2016, 'MCAM and LAMA4 are highly enriched in tumor blood vessels of renal cell carcinoma and predict patient outcome', Cancer Research, vol. 76, no. 8, pp. 2314-2326. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-1364

Zhuang, X, Ahmed, F, Zhang, Y, Ferguson, H, Steele, JC, Steven, NM, Nagy, Z, Heath, VL, Toellner, K-M & Bicknell, R 2015, 'Robo4 vaccines induce antibodies that retard tumor growth', Angiogenesis, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 83-95. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10456-014-9448-z

Wilson, E, Leszczynska, K, Poulter, NS, Edelmann, F, Salisbury, VA, Noy, PJ, Bacon, A, Rappoport, JZ, Heath, J, Bicknell, R & Heath, VL 2014, 'RhoJ interacts with the GIT-PIX complex and regulates focal adhesion disassembly', Journal of Cell Science, vol. 127, no. 14, pp. 3039-3051. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.140434

Tull, S, Verissimo, A, Heath, V, Yates, S, Nagy, Z & Bicknell, R 2014, 'The potential role of ECSCR in vessel development and tumour progression', Angiogenesis, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 772-772.

Kaur, S, Leszczynska, K, Abraham, S, Scarcia, M, Hiltbrunner, S, Marshall, CJ, Mavria, G, Bicknell, R & Heath, V 2011, 'RhoJ/TCL Regulates Endothelial Motility and Tube Formation and Modulates Actomyosin Contractility and Focal Adhesion Numbers', Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 657-U425. https://doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.216341

Zhuang, X, Cross, D, Heath, V & Bicknell, R 2011, 'Shear stress, tip cells and regulators of endothelial migration.', Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1571-5. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20110746

Bailey, R, Herbert, J, Khan, K, Heath, V, Bicknell, R & Tomlinson, M 2011, 'The emerging role of tetraspanin microdomains on endothelial cells.', Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1667-73. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20110745

Leszczynska, K, Kaur, S, Wilson, E, Bicknell, R & Heath, V 2011, 'The role of RhoJ in endothelial cell biology and angiogenesis.', Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 1606-11. https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20110702

Heath, V & Bicknell, R 2009, 'Anticancer strategies involving the vasculature', Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, vol. 6, no. 7, pp. 395-404. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrclinonc.2009.52

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