Pioneer in novel devices recognised with Distinguished Alumni Award

02 March 2017
Professor Ian Hunter

A New Zealand scientist who has developed novel devices for use in medicine receives a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland.

Professor Ian Hunter, Hatsopoulos Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was born and raised in New Zealand, graduating from the University of Auckland with a PhD in 1980.

He began his science career early. By age nine he had started his first company, selling miniature transistor radios that he developed and built. By the age of ten he had published his first academic paper in an electronics journal on the design of his miniaturised single transistor radio.

By the age of 14 he had built a fully functional gas liquid chromatograph for chemical analysis. Chromatography is the process of separating different components of a mixture using either gas or liquid.

Brother of Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter who is Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) at the University of Auckland, Professor Hunter completed post-doctoral work at McGill University in Canada where he advanced to Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

In 1994 he moved to MIT where he established the BioInstrumentation Laboratory and developed a wide range of instruments and devices including nano- and micro-robots, needle-free drug technologies and miniature mass spectrometers.

The MIT BioInstrumentation Lab maintains close links with the University of Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute (ABI).

Professor Hunter said it was a great honour to be recognised by the University of Auckland with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

“Over the years I have valued my collaborations with scientists and engineers at Auckland and have always found that the visiting graduate students who come to my lab at MIT from the University are very accomplished individuals with a passion for learning,” he said.

Professor Hunter has more than 100 patents in his name and has co-founded more than 25 companies over the course of his career. He is an inspiring educator and has received prestigious awards for teaching excellence.

For more information contact:
Anne Beston  I  Media Relations Adviser, Communications, University of Auckland
Email:, Tel: +64 9 923 3258, Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 970 089