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Dr John Coulter worked for twenty years as a medical researcher at the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS) in Adelaide, South Australia. During this time he was, in his private capacity, a leading environmentalist. He spoke out on many occasions on issues such as uranium mining and the hazards of environmental chemicals. In addition, Dr Coulter in the late 1970s headed within the IMVS a small mutagens testing unit. By testing substances for their capacity to cause mutations, a good indication of their potential for inducing cancer can be obtained.