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

Theme leader: Augmented Breathing

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, Senior Lecturer

Theme leader: Metabolic Health Monitoring and Modification

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
Senior Lecturer

Theme Leader: Autonomic Nervous System and Biorhythm Monitoring and Modification

I’m a nutritionist and  ACSM certified clinical exercise physiologist with a research background in diet and exercise in people with metabolic diseases. I’ve always been intrigued by how varied people are in their responses to a given diet or exercise plan, and frustrated by the difficulty of studying why. For me, technology such as that being developed in our Lab, is a way to realise a future of personalised health and performance enhancement.

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Lorenzo Garcia
Senior Lecturer

Theme leader: Musculoskeletal Biomechanics and Biomechatronics

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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Liz Buckley
Lecturer

I am an environmental and molecular microbiologist. My research interests include environmental and disease ecology, with special interest in human illness. My current research is on changes to the paranasal sinus microbiome before and after treatment with technologies designed by the BioDesign Lab.

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Kelvin Lau
Lecturer

Theme leader: Technology and Human-Microbe Interactions

As a molecular microbiologist, my research interests are in the broad fields of biotechnology and microbial ecology, with a focus on the use of bacterial communities as indicators of environmental and human health. I have specialist skills in the analysis of multivariate datasets and high-throughput sequencing data. My focus in the BioDesign Lab is on the modification of the human microbiota using respiratory and other technologies.

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Jeff Kilby
Senior Lecturer

Theme leader: Wearable Sensor Signal Processing and Integration

I am an electrical engineer, and my primary research activity is in biomedical instrumentation, signal processing and wireless sensor technology including surface electromyography and optical monitoring of vital signs and movement dynamics. The technologies I develop are used in the context of monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis, and rehabilitation.

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Mangor Pedersen
Senior Lecturer

Theme co-leader: Brain Signal Processing and Integration, and Artificial Intelligence

I am a neuroscientist with research interests in developing and validating new technologies for visualising and quantifying human brain networks – the connections between different parts of the brain. These technologies include functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG), artificial intelligence (AI), complex network science, and dynamical systems theory. These approaches have significantly contributed to our ability to model brain dysfunction in people who suffer from epilepsy, and professional athletes with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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Imran Niazi
Associate Researcher

Theme co-leader: Brain Signal Processing and Integration, and Artificial Intelligence

I have been working as an active researcher in physical and neural rehabilitation for over a decade. My focus is on non-pharmacological/conservative modes of treatment to optimize the patient's rehabilitation journey and improve their quality of life. I have extensive experience working in multidisciplinary teams that include chiropractors, physiotherapists, medical doctors, engineers, and neuroscientists, with a strong patient-centred, evidence-informed approach. My core expertise lies in data analysis, emphasizing the capture of the nuance of information from patients and clinicians with artificial intelligence (AI), which is missing in most traditional data analysis methods.

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Amira Hassouna
Senior Lecturer

I am a medical doctor with a focus on medical and applied biochemistry and molecular biology especially as it applies to metabolic and endocrine diseases.

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Maryam Doborjeh
Senior Lecturer

I have been principally researching in the field of Neuroinformatics to develop new AI-based technologies for prognosis and diagnosis of neurological and mental disorders such as depression, cognitive impairment, dementia, and stroke. My research interests include developing computational models based on spiking neural networks and deep learning for modelling brain data such as EEG, MRI, and fMRI to improve decision making and decision support in neurological/mental health care.

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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

Gerard (Ged) Sturgess
Celine Turangi
Hana Salati
Michael van Wyk