Merryn Tawhai
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Merryn Tawhai is Deputy Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (University of Auckland), and Director of the Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence. Her research in computational physiology of the respiratory system has pioneered the development of anatomically-detailed models of the lung that span cell-to-organ structure and function. She has led international efforts to develop a quantitative description of lung anatomy, and accompanying multi-scale models that bring together cell function, tissue mechanics, and transport and exchange processes. Her research has developed the only mathematical models in the field that link patient-specific lung structure to function, for simulation of ventilation distribution, perfusion distribution, and gas exchange; as well as simulation of a range of pulmonary function tests. These biophysical models are being used to – for the first time – link structure from three-dimensional imaging to clinical measurements of lung function. Professor Tawhai is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi (RSNZ), of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering. She was awarded the 2016 MacDiarmid Medal by the RSNZ for the potential impact of her research on human health.