Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Merryn Tawhai


Professor, ABI Deputy Director

Contact details

UniServices House,
Room 439 709
70 Symonds Street

Phone: +64 9 923 5119 (DDI); ext 85119 (internal)


Merryn Tawhai graduated from the University of Auckland with a PhD (Engineering Science) in 2001. At the Auckland Bioengineering Instiute Merryn has established a research programme in applied computational physiology of the lung. She was the inaugural Maurice Paykel Postdoctoral Fellow and has been a recipient of Marsden, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Health Research Council of New Zealand grants.


Research interests

Merryn's current research projects include the development of a multi-scale model of lung and airway tissue mechanics for studying the asthmatic hyper-responsive lung, the application of structure-based models in understanding the development of pulmonary hypertension, and subject-specific model-based analysis of the lung during the early development of disease.


Formal collaborations

  • Image and model-based analysis of lung disease (NIH)
    Eric A. Hoffman, Geoffrey McLennan, Joseph Reinhardt, Milan Sonka (University of Iowa)
  • Predicting pulmonary hypertension (Health Research Council of New Zealand)
    Margaret Wilsher, David Milne (ADHB), Kelly Burrowes (University of Oxford)
  • Airway hyper-responsiveness: from molecule to organ (NIH)
    Michael Sanderson (University of Massachusetts), Jason H.T. Bates (University of Vermont), Ann-Marie Lauzon (McGill University), James Sneyd (Department of Mathematics, The University of Auckland)
  • Multiscale interaction of pulmonary gas flow and lung tissue mechanics (NIH)
    Ching-Long Lin (University of Iowa)


Current and former graduate students

  • 2001-2005 — Kelly Burrowes, PhD, An anatomically-based mathematical model of the human pulmonary circulation
  • 2006-2007 — Roseanne Leaupepe, ME, A mathematical model of the effect of fibre angle on contraction of the murine airway
  • 2006-2007 — Tingting Zhao, ME, Modelling gravitational deformations of the sheep lung
  • 2007-2008 — Shijie Yin, ME, An anatomically based mathematical model of the human placenta
  • 2006-2010 — Nicolas Warren, PhD, A computational model of bronchial airway mucociliary transport
  • 2002-Present — Kerry Hedges, PhD under examination, Mathematical model of airflow in the human lung
  • 2006-2011 — Annalisa Swan, PhD candidate, A computational model of pulmonary gas exchange
  • 2006-Present — Jennine Mitchell, PhD candidate, A computational model of the mechanisms that influence inert gas measurement of regional ventilation
  • 2006-Present — Wilson Chiu, PhD candidate, Ventilation distribution: from cell to whole lung
  • 2009-Present — Matthew Barrett, PhD candidate, A BOLD Idea: Physiologically-Based Modelling of the Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Functional MRI Signal


Project links