Amazing Researchers

At the University of Auckland, our passion is to make a difference to our society, and the world. We've profiled two of our leading researchers, Professor Merryn Tawhai and Professor Stuart McNaughton, to showcase the difference they are making to New Zealand society, and globally.

Professor Merryn Tawhai

Professor Merryn Tawhai

Professor Merryn Tawhai has pioneered the creation of multi-levelled computational models of the lungs, spanning from individual cells to the entire organ. The models incorporate data on cell function, tissue and fluid mechanics and gas exchange.

These models have the potential to link basic imaging or symptom data with an advanced understanding of what is happening within the lungs, thus providing a virtual window into this complex organ. This has the potential for more rapid and accurate determination of the best treatment for individual patients and their risks of complications.

In 2016, Professor Tawhai has been awarded the MacDiarmid Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand for her outstanding research, providing new tools for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of lung disease.

Read more about Professor Merryn Tawhai’s research.


Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Professor Merryn Tawhai is Deputy Director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI), a cross-faculty research centre dealing with the application of mathematical and engineering sciences to biology and human physiology.

Learn more about the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI)






Professor Stuart McNaughton

Professor Stuart McNaughton

Professor Stuart McNaughton has pioneered techniques that allow schools to improve teaching outcomes by monitoring their own results, and adjusting teaching approaches accordingly, particularly in literacy and language development.

Professor McNaughton’s research has led to successful intervention programmes and new assessment tools in both English language and Māori language instruction in New Zealand, as well as in English language instruction in other countries.

His current work focuses on digitally-based teaching across low decile school clusters, and investigating how to improve the teaching of early literacy in the Cook Islands, Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

In 2016, Professor McNaughton has been awarded the Dame Joan Metge Medal for his contributions to the building of research capacity in educational sciences, advancing literacy and language development, and for his evidence-based impact on educational policy both nationally and internationally.

Read more about Professor Stuart McNaughton's research.


Woolf Fisher Research Centre

Professor McNaughton is the Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at the University of Auckland, which he co-founded with Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith in 1998. Working with both practicing teachers and educational scientists, the centre has pioneered school change interventions in New Zealand, and new scientific approaches to redesigning schools to be more effective for students from diverse communities.

Learn more about the Woolf Fisher Research Centre.





More about the University of Auckland and our research

Find out more about the University of Auckland, New Zealand's highest ranked university.

Read more about our Research or visit our YouTube channel to see how our Research Works Wonders.

Our Annual Report also contains examples of how our research contributes to social, economic and environmental development.