School of Medicine

Translational Vision Research in the Department of Ophthalmology

Connexin Biology - Professor Colin Green

Professor Green - Working in the Venice office. Professor Green - Working in the Venice office.

Professor Colin Green (BSc MSc [First Class Honours], PhD, DSc) and The Connexin Biology Team work on chronic inflammatory indications, focusing on connexin hemichannel regulation of the innate immune system and concomitant inflammatory disorders and vascular disease. Connexin hemichannel mediated ATP release amplifies and perpetuates the inflammasome pathway in these diseases. The research includes both ocular and non-ocular disease indications. The team has a strong translational research drive and has developed five therapeutics that are in commercial development. Professor Green Holds the W & B Hadden Chair of Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Research. He was the founding director of the University of Auckland’s Biomedical Imaging Research Unit and played key roles in forming the New Zealand National Eye Centre (NZ-NEC) and the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Facility within the Centre for Brain Research. Professor Green is on the governance board for the Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit.

connexin2 An earlier iteration of the Connexin Biology Team at the Grand Canyon - (back row) Joanne Davidson, Professor Colin Green, Dr Jinny Yoon, (front row) Professor Louise Nicholson, Jie Zhang, Dr Simon O'Carroll, Carthur Won

Current Projects:

  • Innate immune system regulation
  • Connexin hemichannel modulation – drug development
  • Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration
  • Spinal cord injury / radiation necrosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Brain Glioma
  • Viral cytokine storm
  • CNS hypoxia / brain ischemia (cerebral palsy)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Non-healing wounds (ocular and non-ocular)
  • Ventilator induced lung injury / multiple organ dysfunction
  • Keratoconus / myopia (cell reprogramming)


The team maintains international collaborations worldwide. Here Professor Christian Naus (University of British Columbia, Canada) and Professor Luc Leybaert (University of Gent, Belgium) on a visit to Rotorua, New Zealand.



Out on the town – Dr Joanne Davidson, Professors Alistair Gunn, Laura Bennet and Colin Green, and Dr Justin Dean after receiving the Shorland Medal of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, 2017.

Current Team Members / Collaborators:

Dr Lola Mugisho (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC, Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit)

Ilva Rupenthal (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC, Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit)

Dr Monica Acosta (School of Optometry and Vision Science, NZ-NEC)

Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC)

Dr Jie Zhang (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC)

Dr Stan Stylli and Professor Andrew Kaye (Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia)

Professor Alistair Gunn (Physiology)

Dr Joanne Davidson (Physiology)

Professor Laura Bennet (Physiology)

Dr Justin Dean (Physiology)

Dr Simon O’Carroll (Centre for Brain Research, Anatomy and Medical Imaging)

Dr Jian Guan (Pharmacology)

Professor Anthony Phillips (School Biological Science and Department of Surgery)

Professor David Becker (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Professor John Windsor (Department of Surgery)

Dr John Taylor (School of Biological Sciences)

Professor Cath Gorrie (UTS Sydney, Australia)

Professor Gila Moalem-Taylor (UNSW, Sydney, Australia)

Professor Trevor Sherwin (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC)

Dr Stuti Misra (Ophthalmology, NZ-NEC)

Dr Carol Greene (Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Ltd)

Dr Lisa Feldman (Neurosurgery, City of Hope, California, USA)

Professor William Broaddus (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA)

Professor Joel Garbow (Washington University, Saint Louis, USA)

Dr Claire Hills and Professor Paul Squires (University of Lincoln, UK)

Dr Christos Chadjichristos (French NIHMR, Paris, France)

Dr Lola Mugisho, Professor Green, Associate Professor Ilva Rupenthal and student Cindy Kuo working on connexin hemichannel mediated retinal pigment epithelial cell barrier breakdown in diabetic retinopathy.

Connexin Biology Team Key Outputs:

Over 195 research publications and book chapters

Over 50 Research publications in last five years (2014 -2020)

Over 260 patent applications, 32 patent families

Over $27 Million in Research Funding since Professor Green returned to New Zealand after 12 years overseas to work in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland in 1993

Investigator on three Health Research Council Programme Grants, five Marsden Fund projects.

Over 65 post-graduate student graduations

Vice-Chancellor’s commercialisation Medal, 2014

Shorland Medal of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, 2017

Co-Founded three biotechnology companies and attracted over $105 Million in investment funding

Multiple Keynote and Invited Lectures worldwide including the Ida Mann Memorial Lecture of the Royal College of Australian and New Zealand Ophthalmologists (Melbourne, 2012), Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (Miami, 2018), Association for Vision Research (Seattle, 2016), International Gap Junction Conference (2013), Asia Pacific Organisation for Cell Biology (Singapore, 2014), NZ Marsden 10by10 Public Lectures (Wanaka, Rotorua, 2014), Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society Meeting (Brisbane, 2014; John Blandford Lecture, Auckland, 2020).