New Zealand Auckland

The University of Auckland

Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Brief Overview

The Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) is a large-scale research institute of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, with about 150 staff and 100 postgraduate students. The ABI is pioneering the development of mathematical models of human physiology and new instrumentation techniques for a wide variety of healthcare applications. ABI’s vision is to provide virtual human models which can be personalised and used, with new medical devices, as the basis for improved and lower cost healthcare. The ABI hosts (on behalf of the University) the national Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE).

Research Areas

Intensive care\Lung cancer\M-health_e-health \Pulmonary hypertension\Ventilation

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (outgoing initial phase only)

Research infrastructure/facilities

For imaging lung tissue, the ABI has two micro-CT instruments (Bruker Skyscan 1272 and 1172), optical coherence tomography, and a custom-designed 12-camera stereoscopic rig for imaging ex vivo lung surface displacement. Imaging data is analysed and interpreted using a custom-written open source software for the simulation of lung structure and function. A number of other software resources are available for research and supported by staff, including OpenCMISS and CellML. The ABI has state-of-the-art workshop facilities for prototyping mechanical/electronics devices. The workshop is adjacent to a bioinstrumentation laboratory that has equipment for and expertise in developing niche biomedical instrumentation.

Research funding/Resources

Respiratory research in the ABI is currently supported by funding from the Tertiary Education Commission through the MedTech CoRE, the Health Research Council Explorer Fund, The Royal Society of New Zealand Catalyst Fund, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment COVID-19 Innovation Fund, and philanthropic grants. Funding supports research projects from basic to translational science.

Links to non-academic sector

The ABI fosters a culture of innovation. Over the past 10 years the ABI has generated 25 spinout companies that are now at various stages of growth, generating > 150 jobs. The ABI has established an incubator space that currently hosts eight spinout companies, providing close engagement between researchers and early-stage commercialisation. As the host of the MedTech CoRE, the ABI is well-connected to New Zealand’s medical technologies ecosystem. The MedTech CoRE provides workshop-based training in quality and regulatory requirements for medtech commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

The ABI regularly hosts visiting academic staff and students, including Whittaker and National Science Foundation Fellows. Staff on sabbatical are typically hosted for 6-12 months, and are provided with access to university resources and a workspace. The ABI periodically hosts international collaborators for each research group. Staff career development is supported by a structured annual performance review that includes objective setting, a Mentoring Committee that offers workshops and one-to-one academic mentoring, an Emerging Researchers’ Group, and a Research Support Team that supports grant preparation.  Two internal contestable funding sources are available for strategic projects that support career development. Outreach activities include an annual Open Day, an annual Summer Science programme for high school students, and a twice-yearly ‘medtech showcase’ with a partner Māori high school. Staff and students also participate in the MedTech CoREs ‘Technology Innovation & Knowledge Interchange Tours’, which facilitate discussion between industry, researchers, and health providers.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award