University of Auckland Engineering gets Marsden funding of $1.7 million

03 November 2016
Nic Smith
Dean of Engineering, Professor Nic Smith.

Four research projects in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland receive a total of $1.7 million from this year’s Marsden Fund.

Dean of Engineering Professor Nic Smith receives $830,000 for research looking at how coronary blood flow is maintained. This flow is not only critical for heart function but is also a remarkable given how vessels are squeezed every heart beat.

Professor Smith and his team are investigating the alignment of coronary vessels within the muscular heart walls and whether, in heart failure, changes in the structure of these muscle layers explain the reduction in coronary flow that is seen clinically.

The work will provide new understanding of how coronary blood flow is sustained in the beating heart.

Two other Faculty of Engineering projects supported by Marsden funding this year are based in the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering.

They include a Fast-Start grant of $300,000 for Lecturer Jenny Malmstrom for her work on human tissue, studying how cells behave in artificial environments.

The work involves creating a novel responsive interface to deliver growth factors to cells, mimicking what happens in living tissue. The results of this research will have many implications for drug delivery, biocide release and cancer therapy.

Research Fellow Huang Saifang, also from the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering, receives $300,000 to investigate a new mechanism to reduce the need for ultraviolet light in high-performance white LEDs.

Senior Lecturer in Engineering Science, Andrea Raith’s work looks at solving multiobjective optimisation problems (MOPs), integrating ideas of problem decomposition and techniques to more effectively deal with complexity in MOP. She receives a $300,000 Fast-Start grant for the research.

“I’m delighted with the support our researchers have been given from this year’s funding which will allow them to use state of the art engineering techniques to fundementally advance our understanding in many areas. I warmly congratulate on their success,” Professor Smith says.

The annual Marsden grants are administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand and allocated over three years.


For more information contact

Anne Beston
Media Relations Adviser,
University of Auckland.

Tel: +64 9 923 3258
Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 970 089