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New director of MedTech CoRE

New director of MedTech CoRE

Professor Merryn Tawhai, Deputy Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), has been named as the new Director of The Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE), hosted at the University of Auckland.

Professor Tawhai, who has been a co-deputy director of the CoRE since it was established in 2015, replaces ABI Director, Professor Peter Hunter, who will continue on as one of the two deputies.

“Merryn has been an extremely effective deputy director of the MedTech CoRE,” says Professor Hunter, “and it is with great confidence and pleasure that I am handing over the reins to her for the second three years of the six-year funded CoRE. It is also the right time to do this as Merryn will now lead the CoRE rebid, which gets underway in 2018.”

Professor Tawhai, who joined ABI as a Research Fellow in 2002, is renowned for her world-leading work on developing mathematical models of the lung to help in the understanding of both physiologically normal lungs and the pathological changes that can occur in disease. In 2016 she won the Royal Society of New Zealand’s McDiarmid Medal for outstanding scientific research with application to human benefit. Next year she will be inducted as a fellow into two international societies focused on medical and biological engineering.

Professor Tawhai sees her new role at the MedTech CoRE as building on the vision to “support fantastic research across New Zealand that relates to medical devices and medical technology”.

“The first three years were really about understanding how to work together as a CoRE,” she says of the consortium made up of five universities and Callaghan Innovation. “The next three years will be about outcomes – both commercial and clinical. We want to translate our research into NZ industry and develop technologies that will have impact; that are doing things better, faster, more safely, more cost-effectively.

“We are actively driving more engagement between researchers and industry and we need to make sure we train people that are prepared to go into these industries with the right skills. That’s why we have established a doctoral training programme as part of the CoRE.

“Helping smaller companies grow will also be a focus. “Sometimes great start-ups just need a little more help, a little more research to get going and we can assist.”



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