Professor Martyn Nash

BE(Hons), PhD


The primary focus of Martyn's research career has been on bioengineering analyses of the heart in order to understand mechanisms and events underlying cardiac electro-mechanical activity in health and disease. His PhD focussed on structure-based computer modelling of cardiac mechanics. As a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford (1997-2002), he established experimental and clinical research programmes to study the electrophysiological function and dysfunction of the heart.

Since returning to Auckland in 2003, Martyn has continued his heart research in collaboration with colleagues in the UK, USA, Europe and NZ. He has also developed new bioengineering research themes applying his modelling and analysis expertise to other organ systems - specifically, studying biomechanics of the breast, skin, pelvic floor, lungs, tongue, head (shaken baby syndrome) and equine hoof - much of this has been achieved through the variety of research students that Martyn has supervised.

Martyn develops and applies novel and efficient computational tools in order to interpret the variety and vast quantity of biological recordings that are available from laboratory and clinical studies. He is also engaged in the design and refinement of experimental techniques, bioinstrumentation, and model-based approaches to medical imaging in order to generate data of sufficient quality to further inform the mathematical modelling analyses, and ultimately add to the understanding of biological systems. This continual interplay between biological observation, instrumentation and mathematical modelling provides mechanistic insight into physiological function. Martyn applies this research approach to facilitate (i) the development of improved medical imaging, biomedical devices and diagnostic techniques, and (ii) the discovery and monitoring of therapies for prevention and treatment of disease, and better management of patient care.


Research | Current

Lists of publications are available directly from these links: ScopusGoogle Scholar, ResearchGate, ORCID, ResearcherID.

Cardiac mechanics

Mathematical modelling and mechanics of the beating heart using the finite element method (FEM). Implementation of efficient optimisation algorithms and parallel processing techniques to estimate material properties and to predict accurate distributions of mechanical stress throughout the ventricular walls during the heart cycle. Learn more about this research at the ABI's heart mechanics project page or from theses by:

Biomechanics for breast health

Modelling breast deformation during various imaging modalities (X-ray, MRI, CT) with applications to breast cancer detection and management. Learn more about this research at the ABI's biomechanics for breast health project page. or from theses by:

Electrocardiographic imaging

Analysis of heart and body ECG maps during normal sinus rhythm, ventricular pacing, ventricular fibrillation, localised ischaemia, abnormal ventricular automaticity, hyperkalaemia to understand electrophysiological function and dysfunction (arrhythmia) of the heart. Development and validation of inverse ECG modelling methods to electrically image the heart non-invasively. I work in these areas in collaboration with: Professor Richard Clayton (University of Sheffield); Professor David Paterson (University of Oxford); Professor Peter Taggart (University College London).

Cardiac electromechanics

Interactions between cardiac electrophysiology and tissue mechanics to investigate mechanisms of re-entrant arrhythmias in the heart. Learn more about this research at the ABI's heart mechanics project page or at the web site of my collaborator Professor Sasha Panfilov (University of Gent).

Soft tissue mechanics and measurement

I also participate in a variety of other collaborative research projects, having worked together with the following graduate students:

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  1. John Pan (Jun21-present): Automated personalised anatomical modelling of the torso. (Jointly with Prasad Babarenda Gamage, Poul Nielsen, Gonzalo Maso Talou).
  2. Debbie Zhao (Jul18-present): Modelling the heart using 3D+t echocardiography. (Jointly with Kat Gilbert.)
  3. Alex Dixon (Sep15-submitted): Non-destructive estimation of mechanical properties of biological membranes. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)
  4. Abdallah Hasaballa (Aug15-Oct20): Linking myocardial mechanics and microstructural remodelling during heart failure. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Greg Sands.) Present post (@2020): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  5. Chun Meng (Alex) Goh (Jul13-Oct20): Meshfree modelling of hyperelastic mechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.)
  6. Bianca Freytag (Feb15-Mar20): Model-based analysis of myocardial microstructure for left ventricular mechanics using MRI. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young.) Present post (@2020): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  7. Samuel Richardson (Dec13-Dec19): Rat lung geometry and deformation under controlled pressure. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Present post (@2020): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  8. Zhinuo (Jenny) Wang (Mar14-May18): Left ventricular mechanics in human heart failure. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young, Chris Bradley.) Present post (@2020): Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford, UK.
  9. Renee Miller (Jul13-Feb18): Identification of transversely isotropic material properties from cardiac magnetic resonance elastography. (Jointly with Alistair Young.) Previous post (@2018): Post-doc, Department of Anatomy and Medical Imaging, UoA, NZ. Present post (@2019): Post-doc, King’s College London, UK.
  10. Alexander Wilson (May12-Jan18): Biomechanics of cardiac remodelling in heart failure. (Jointly with Ian LeGrice.) Previous post (@2019): Post-doc, University of South Florida, USA. Present post (@2020): Post-doc, Stanford University, USA.
  11. Amir HajiRassouliha (Jul13-Sep17): A toolbox for precise and robust deformation measurement. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous post (@2019): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ. Present post (@2020): UneeQ NZ Ltd.
  12. Xiani (Nancy) Yan (Mar10-Aug17): Modelling the second stage of labour. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Jenny Kruger.) Previous post (@2018): Soul Machines, NZ. PhD seminar.
  13. Nikini Puhulwelle Gamage (Apr12-Jul17): Soft tissue deformations in abusive head trauma. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)  Present post (@2018): The Simulation Group, Melbourne, Australia.
  14. Matthew Parker (Aug11-May17): Identification of the mechanical properties of living skin: an instrumentation and modelling study. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Present post (@2019): Research Engineer, MED-EL Medical Electronics, Austria.
  15. Thiranja Prasad Babarenda Gamage (Mar09-Jul16): Constitutive parameter identifiability and the design of experiments for applications in breast biomechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2019): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  16. Adam Reeve (Mar10-Apr15): The mechanics of vascularised tissue. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous post (@2016): Xero, Auckland, NZ. Presently working in London, UK.
  17. Thomas Lintern (Mar10-Feb15): Modelling infant head kinematics in abusive head trauma. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous post (@2015-6): Technology Advisory Analyst, Deloitte New Zealand, Wellington, NZ. Present post (@2018): Data Scientist, Wellington, NZ.
  18. Yikun (Colin) Wang (Mar09-Mar14): Modelling tongue mechanics. (Jointly with Oliver Röhrle.) Present post (@2018): FEA Engineer, Quest Integrity NZL Ltd, Wellington, NZ.
  19. Vicky Yang Wang (Mar07-Feb12): Modelling in-vivo cardiac mechanics using MRI and FEM. (Jointly with Alistair Young.) Previous post (@2017): National Heart Foundation Research Fellow, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ. Present post (@2019): Post-doc, Veteran Affairs Medical Hospital, University of California San Francisco, USA.
  20. Hoi Ieng (Helen) Lam (Mar07-Feb12): Mathematical tools for ventricular analysis using cardiac MRI. (Jointly with Alistair Young.) Present post (@2019): Post-doc (part-time), Auckland MRI Research Group, University of Auckland, NZ.
  21. Glenn Ramsey (Mar04-Feb12; part-time): Equine hoof biomechanics. (Jointly with Peter Hunter.) Previous post (@2014): Post-doc (part-time), Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  22. Angela Wing Chung Lee (Mar07-Dec11): Breast image fusion using biomechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Vijay Rajagopal.) Present post (@2018): Post-doc, King's College London, UK.
  23. Xinshan (Shannon) Li (Mar07-Mar11): Modelling levator ani mechanics during the second stage of labour. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2019): Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK.
  24. Jessica Wing Yun Jor (Mar06-Oct10): Modelling the structure and mechanical properties of skin. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Peter Hunter.) Previous post (@2014): Post-doc (part-time), Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  25. Jae-Hoon Chung (Mar04-Mar08): Modelling mammographic mechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2018): Rolls-Royce Engines, UK.
  26. Vijayaraghavan Rajagopal (Mar03-May07): Modelling breast tissue mechanics under gravity loading. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Previous post (@2012-15): Post-doc NUS Singapore. Present post (@2019): Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  27. Holger Schmid (Mar03-Aug06): Passive myocardial mechanics. (Jointly with Peter Hunter.) Previous position (@2009): Post-doc, University of Aachen, Germany. Present position (@2019): High School Physics teacher, Frankfurt, Germany.

Masters students

  1. Kejia Khoo (2021): Torso scanning and modelling (Jointly with Prasad Babarenda Gamage, Gonzalo Maso Talou, Poul Nielsen.)
  2. George Harpur (2020): Decoding DENSE heart displacements (Jointly with Vicky Wang.)
  3. Robin Laven (2020): Stereo imaging and texture mapping (Jointly with Prasad Babarenda Gamage, Gonzalo Maso Talou, Poul Nielsen.)
  4. Amila Perera (2018): Noninvasive estimation of left ventricular pressure using ultrasound. (Jointly with Andrew Lowe, Kat Gilbert.)
  5. Mario Habenbacher (2018) (TU Graz, Austria): Influence of the chosen reference state on estimators of cardiac mechanical properties - a computational study of the left ventricle of patients with heart failure. (Jointly with Prasad Babarenda Gamage.)
  6. Alison Schroeder (2017): Computational modelling of passive cardiac trabecula mechanics. (Jointly with Kenneth Tran, Denis Loiselle, Prasad Babarenda Gamage.)
  7. Megan Guidry (2016): Modelling cardiac mechano-energetics. (Jointly with David Nickerson, Denis Loiselle, Kenneth Tran.) Present post (@2017): Research Assistant, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  8. Alex Dixon (2015): An optomechanical instrument for pericardial tissue selection in bioprosthetic heart valves. (Jointly with Andrew Taberner, Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2019): PhD student, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  9. Bianca Freytag (2014) (RWTH Aachen University, Germany): Investigating fibre re-orientations in heart failure. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young.) Present post (@2019): PhD student, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  10. Lauren Dupuis (2014): Mechano-energetics of the heart. (Jointly with Denis Loiselle.) Present post (@2016): PhD student, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
  11. Justyna Niestrawska (2013) (RWTH Aachen University, Germany): A structure-based analysis of cardiac remodelling – a constitutive modelling approach. (Jointly with Vicky Wang.) Present post: (@2016) PhD student, and (@2018) Post-doc, Graz University of Technology, Austria.
  12. Mihailo Azhar (2012): 3D point tracking in stereoscopy using a phase based cross-correlation method. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous position (@2015): Orion Health, Auckland, NZ.
  13. Darren Alvarez (2009): A 3D strain measurement system for soft material. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner, Cormac Flynn.) Previous positions: PhD student and Post-doc, University of New South Wales, Australia. Present post (@2016): ResearchGate, Berlin, Germany.


  • 2020 Elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
  • 2020 Excellence in Graduate Supervision Award, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2020 Excellence in Research Translation Award, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2019 Australian and NZ Society of Biomechanics (ANZSB) Publication of the Year Award.
  • 2011 Faculty of Engineering Top 20 Teaching Award, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2009-11 James Cook Research Fellowship, Royal Society of NZ.
  • 2009 MedIA-MICCAI Prize for best paper in Medical Image Analysis.
  • 2009 Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences: Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • 2006 Marsden Fund Faststart Award, Royal Society of NZ.
  • 2003 Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2002 E.P.A. Cephalosporin Research Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, UK.
  • 1992 William Georgetti Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1992 N.Z. Vice Chancellor's Committee Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 James Gordon Goodfellow Memorial Prize (Best Graduate in Engineering), University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) Craven Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 Bank of New Zealand Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.


Areas of expertise

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomechanics
  • Electrophysiology

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional societies

  • 2020- Scientific Advisory Board, HeartLab NZ Ltd.
  • 2019- Board of Directors, Functional Imaging and Modelling of the Heart (FIMH) Workshop
  • 2019- Member of European Society for Biomechanics (ESB)
  • 2016- Senior Member IEEE
  • 2015- Editorial Board, Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology
  • 2014- Editorial Board, Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
  • 2011- Member of International Society for Biomechanics (ISB)
  • 2008- Member of Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR)
  • 2007- Member of Medical Image Computing & Computer Aided Intervention Society (MICCAI)
  • 2007- Member of Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • 2004- Academic visitor, Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2004- Member IEEE Engineering and Medicine in Biology Society (EMBS)
  • 2003- Member Physiological Society of NZ (PSNZ)
  • 2003- Member Tertiary Education Union (TEU) (formerly Association of University Staff, AUS), NZ

University of Auckland service (present)

  • 2017- UoA Professorial Promotions Advisory Committee
  • 2010- Department of Engineering Science Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC)
  • 2010- Auckland Bioengineering Institute Executive, and Budget Committees
  • 2006-14, 2019- Auckland Bioengineering Institute Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC)
  • 2003- Auckland Bioengineering Institute Management Committee (Principal Investigator)

University of Auckland service (past)

  • 2019 UoA Health Research Council Steering Committee
  • 2019 UoA Marsden Fund Steering Committee
  • 2019 UoA Centres of research Excellence Steering Committee
  • 2011-18 Deputy Head of Department (Biomedical), Department of Engineering Science
  • 2009-13 University of Auckland Research Committee
  • 2008-13 Associate Director Research, Auckland Bioengineering Institute
  • 2007-13 Auckland Bioengineering Institute FRDF/PBRF Funding Allocation Committee
  • 2007-13 University of Auckland Associate Deans Research Committee
  • 2011 University of Auckland MSI Assistance Strategy Steering Group

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 7, Room 715
New Zealand

Web links