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Professor's pioneering lung work honoured

Professor's pioneering lung work honoured with top international honour

Professor Merryn Tawhai, Deputy Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), has been honoured with one of the highest international accolades in her field.

Today Professor Tawhai was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for her outstanding contributions to the development and use of computational models for the diagnosis and prognostic assessment of lung disease.

The AIMBE College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the world. College membership honours those who have made outstanding contributions to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education".

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.

Late last year Professor Tawhai was also named the Director of New Zealand’s Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE), hosted at the University of Auckland.

When she returns from the United States, she will tour New Zealand with the Royal Society on a lecture series titled “Digital Breaths: The benefits of Bioengineering”. The tour will include New Zealand’s cities and smaller centres ranging from Napier to Wanaka.

In June Professor Tawhai will be back in the United States to be inducted into IAMBE – the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.

The Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Professor Peter Hunter says Merryn's recent election both to the American Institute (AIMBE) and to the International Academy (IAMBE) recognises her achievement in developing the world's most advanced model of the anatomy and physiology of the lungs.

“And it is an acknowledgement of the importance this work will have for the clinical understanding and treatment of lung disease,” he says.

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