Department of Engineering Science

Why study Biomedical Engineering?

Our degree specialisations are accredited by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), making them recognised by many overseas countries.

By specialising in Biomedical Engineering you will learn to apply principles and techniques from the physical and engineering sciences to medical and biological problems. You will develop a wide range of skills that may be applied to software development, instrumentation, imaging, mathematical modelling and high-performance computational engineering.

Biomedical engineers are employed in industry, in hospitals, in research facilities, and in government regulatory agencies. They often serve in a coordinating or interfacing function, using their background in both the engineering and medical fields. In industry, they may create designs where an in-depth understanding of living systems and of technology is essential.

Much of the biomedical engineering landscape remains uncharted. Many areas exist that are open for exploration and innovation. Many Biomedical Engineering graduates go on to do postgraduate research in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, or at overseas universities. Postgraduate study can pave the way for careers working on the cutting edge of biomedical engineering research.

Read about the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Biomedical Engineering degree.

Biomedical engineering applications

Biomedical engineering principles and techniques have been applied in the following industries:

Biotechnology industries

In the biotechnology industries, the new fields of  "functional genomics" or "proteomics" will generate vast databases of information on protein structure and function. To interpret this data physiologically and to use it effectively for the diagnosis and treatment of disease will require a different approach to medical research than the traditional "hypothesis driven" approach. Biomedical engineering is the academic discipline for:

  • A system approach to data collection guided by biophysically based mathematical models.
  • The development of new high data-throughput instrumentation.
  • The development of anatomically and physiologically based models of the human body using the methods of mathematical physics and engineering.
  • The development of new high performance computational tools which solve the equations of physics for biological materials.
  • The ability to customise models to a particular person in order to interpret clinical measurements (including DNA sequence information) from that person.

Sports biomechanics and injury assessment

Biomedical engineering could play a major role in the science of sports and athletics in New Zealand and in injury assessment. Mathematical models of the human musculo-skeletal system, based on accurate measurement of geometry, structure and material properties, together with modern computational techniques, are capable of changing sports and injury biomechanics into a much more quantitative science.

Medical device development

Biomedical engineers are involved in designing and constructing devices such as cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, artificial kidneys, blood oxygenators, prosthetic hearts, and joints.

Clinical imaging devices such as CAT, PET, MRI, functional NMR, potential mapping are currently yielding diagnostic information well in excess of our ability to interpret it. Biomedical engineering graduates would be expected to contribute to the development of new instrumentation and software, including computer modelling software, which will help in the clinical interpretation of these data.

Animal industries

New Zealand's economy depends heavily on animal-based primary industries. The future success of these industries will depend on our ability to increase the value of animal products and bioengineeirng models are likely to play an important role in this. The meat research industry, for example, is currently employing bioengineers to model animal carcasses.