Our people

The BioDesign Lab's core team is made up of a dynamic mix of AUT staff and postgraduate students. Our team have backgrounds and expertise in engineering, design, medicine and more.

David White
Co-director, Associate Professor

I am a designer and mechanical engineer. Working with industry and clinicians my students and I have developed many innovative biomedical devices and research systems over the past two decades. These include a lung simulator, pressure limiting flow regulator, simulator of premature neonate lung surfactant dynamics, airway tracheal tissue test apparatus, and novel patient breathing interface systems such as the RACer for sleep apnoea and respiratory disorders. Most recently we have also developed a novel way of tracking the autonomic nervous system.

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Catherine Crofts
Co-director, Lecturer

A New Zealand registered pharmacist with 20+ years of clinical practice in both the community and hospital settings, I’ve always had a strong interest in de-prescribing and promoting healthy lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity to improve quality of life. My research focus is on the early detection of metabolic disease, e.g. type 2 diabetes, before there is disease and the damage that results. Some of the technologies we are developing offer opportunities for very early detection and therefore prevention.

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Christian Thoma
BioDesign Lab Chief Science Communicator, Senior Lecturer

I’m a nutritionist and clinical exercise physiologist with a research background in diet and exercise in people with a range of metabolic diseases. I’ve always been intrigued by how varied people are in their responses to similar diet and exercise approaches, but frustrated by the difficulty of studying why. For me, technology such as that being developed in , represents a key part of a future in which we come to understand individual differences well enough to support genuinely personalised prevention and therapy strategies.

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Chris Whittington
Researcher, Senior Lecturer

With a strong industry background in CAD/CAM and additive manufacture through 3-D printing, I’ve applied my mechanical engineering skills in many biomedical applications such as cranial-facial reconstruction and surgical tools. My current research interest is understanding the mechanisms modulating inhaled nitric oxide as part of my doctoral studies being conducted within the BioDesign Lab.

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Lorenzo Garcia
Senior Lecturer

With a background in applied physics, mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering I like to combine my role as technology manager with my interest to fulfil bioengineering needs in two areas: healthcare technology and ocean technology. As a BioDesign Engineer, I specialise in musculoskeletal biomechanics, technology transfer, innovation management, and the design of medical devices.

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Mehrdad Khamooshi
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Having completed my PhD in computational fluid dynamics I am now leading the Advanced Computational Analysis Group within the BioDesign Lab. My research interests include simulation of internal and external fluid flows, structural and thermodynamic problems that supports the development of new biomedical technologies. My current projects focus on modelling interactions in the paranasal sinuses.

Jacob de Lesseps
Research Officer

My interest in medical devices came from my final year project to design and build a new wearable pressurised breathing system to improve cardiorespiratory fitness in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I’m keen to apply my engineering design skills in medical device commercialisation and working within the BioDesign Lab enables me to not only work across many disciplines but also lead device development projects.

Partners and collaborators

We work with a number of external researchers as well as industry partners. Find out who we work with, or get in touch to find out more.

Our partners

Celine Turangi
Michael van Wyk
Hana Salati