Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Our goals

The primary goal of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute is to develop anatomically and biophysically based mathematical models for all aspects of human physiology from genes to whole organs, together with the experimental techniques and instrumentation required to measure cell and tissue properties and perform model validation experiments.

The understanding of biological function gained through these models is applied to medical diagnosis, drug discovery and medical device manufacture.

Improving medical diagnosis and treatment of injury or disease

A major part of this effort is the development of material property databases and computational and visualisation software. A secondary goal is to develop as many applications of this technology as possible. All research projects have the dual aim of, first, contributing to some aspect of healthcare by improving the understanding of physiological processes and hence the medical diagnosis and treatment of injury or disease, and, second, creating employment opportunities in New Zealand for our graduates.

Experimental measurement, mathematical modelling and model validation

Most of the projects undertaken by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute involve a combination of experimental measurement, mathematical modelling and model validation.

It is our strongly held belief that these three aspects of bioengineering research should be closely integrated. Mathematical modelling requires a firm experimental foundation, just as experimental research requires a mathematical framework with which to interpret complex results.

The organisation of the Institute must therefore maintain a balance between software development and modelling on the one hand and instrumentation development, cell and tissue experiments and model validation experiments on the other.

Developing a comprehensive framework for modelling the human body

Two important emerging features of modern medicine are:

  • the development of ever more sophisticated clinical imaging devices (MRI, microCT, ultrasound imaging, electrical field imaging, optical tomography, etc), and
  • the development of new geneomic and proteomic techniques based on our recently discovered knowledge of protein-encoding sequences in the human genome.

This will mean that the clinical assessment of an individual's medical condition can incorporate information from both diagnostic imaging and DNA or protein expression data for that patient.

To relate these two ends of the spectrum, however, will require very comprehensive integrative mathematical models of human physiology based on detailed quantitative descriptions of anatomical structures and biophysical processes which reach down to the genetic level.

An important strategic objective of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute is to therefore to develop mathematical models which link gene, protein, cell, tissue, organ and whole body systems physiology into one comprehensive framework.