Soft tissue mechanics

Our research team is taking a close look at skin – the largest organ in the human body, yet it has been studied little in comparison with most other organs.

Skin helps prevents fluid loss, protects against pathogens, regulates temperature, and is sensitive to temperature, deformation, and injury. It is an extremely valuable body organ.  

Research questions

  • Can we measure, model and better understand our skin and the complex next-to-skin environment that is our primary interface to the outside world?
  • Do we really see our skin’s reality when we look in the mirror?

Our skin supports a widely diverse microbial environment that can become a major source of cross-infection in hospitals.

Our research group has expertise in electronic/mechanical/optical instrumentation and modelling capabilities, which are needed to make an impact on skin health.

We have already developed tools for non-invasively probing skin properties on living people and we are working with New Zealand industry (e.g. the wool industry) to improve the design of textiles based on natural fibres. With additional resources we could scale up our efforts considerably and engage with a much wider range of applications.     


Primary contact

Poul Nielsen


Thiranja Prasad Babarenda Gamage
Peter Hunter
Martyn Nash
Poul Nielsen
Amir Haji Rassouliha


Alex Dixon
Sam Richardson

International links

  • Canada: University of Sherbrooke
  • UK: University of Oxford and Addenbrooke’s Hospital