Doctoral study in Anaesthesiology

Why study with us?

  • The Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences is New Zealand’s leading provider of tertiary education in the health field and the country’s largest centre for medical and biomedical research.
  • We work at the cutting-edge of research, at the commercial biotechnology interface, in the clinical care setting, and in the community. We offer a broad and demanding range of postgraduate programmes that are innovative and designed to ensure our graduates remain in high demand, both here and overseas.
  • Our programmes are led and delivered by expert staff, many of whom are internationally recognised and highly regarded researchers.
  • We pride ourself on the close collaboration that we have developed with the country’s leading healthcare providers. This ensures that our teaching and research is relevant to the present and future health needs of New Zealand.

Research opportunities

Research conducted in the Department of Anaesthesiology ranges from the clinical assessment of novel drugs, through to the use of simulation as a tool for analysing error in anaesthesia. Staff involved in research include clinicians, scientists, research coordinators and postgraduate students.

Some of our research interests and projects include:

  • Airway management
  • Burns anaesthesia
  • Clinical value of novel drugs within cardiac surgery (notably bivalirudin as an alternative to heparin for cardiopulmonary bypass and clevidipine as an alternative to nitroglycerine for blood pressure control during cardiac surgery)
  • Cognitive impairment in elderly patients following anaesthesia and surgery
  • EEG and sleep modelling
  • Emergence delirium
  • Emergency surgical airways
  • Human factors
  • Improvement of neuro-cognitive outcome after cardiac surgery
  • Incident monitoring within anaesthesia
  • Intra-operative hypothermia
  • Mechanisms of anaesthesia
  • Medical education in anaesthesiology
  • Microbial and particulate contamination of IV drugs during their administration in anaesthesia
  • Novel ketamine analogues
  • Outcomes research in elderly patients
  • Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of analgesic drugs in children and neonates
  • Prevention of drug administration error in anaesthesia and simulation as a tool for error research
  • Sleep disorders in the New Zealand blind population
  • Teamwork in perioperative teams and effect on patient outcomes
  • The circadian variation of anaesthetic drug action
  • The clinical implications of fatigue and circadian disruption to clinicians and patients
  • The implications of automated record keeping within anaesthesia
  • WHO Safe Surgical Checklist
  • Data mining of anaesthetic and medical records
  • Mathematical modelling of physiological systems
  • Circadian clock and the microbiome
  • Anaesthesia, aging and the circadian clock
  • Development of the circadian clock  

If you are interested in conducting a research project or completing your PhD with us, please contact the department's Postgraduate Adviser Dr Guy Warman at or Dr James Cheeseman at

You can view our research projects here.

Our people

Pursue your topic with us and benefit from exceptional standards of support and supervision from internationally recognised researchers.

Professor Simon Mitchell

Simon Mitchell is an anaesthesiologist practicing at Auckland City Hospital and a diving physician providing on-call diving emergency services to North Shore Hospital, Auckland.

He is the Head of the Department of Anaesthesiology at the School of Medicine, University of Auckland.

He is widely published in his fields of clinical expertise, and the related area of patient safety in the operating room. He serves on the Editorial Boards of four scientific journals and holds numerous service and executive roles in external academic societies.

He has had a lifelong passion for diving – and was a lead member of teams that were the first to locate, dive and explore three deep shipwrecks of high historical significance in Australia and New Zealand. At the time of one of these dives it was the deepest ever undertaken to a wreck (180–600m).

His contributions to exploration and the science of diving were recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Explorers’ Club of New York in 2006 and his receipt of the Rolex Diver of the Year Award in 2015.

Visit Professor Simon Mitchell's staff profile.

Other supervisors in this subject

Professor Brian Anderson
Research interests: Paediatric anaesthesia, paediatric intensive care, paediatric pharmacology.

Dr James Cheeseman
Research interests: anaesthesia and the circadian clock, anaesthesia and aging, marine chronobiology, development of the circadian clock in Drosophila. In vivo recording of clock gene expression in the mouse.

Dr David Cumin
Research interests: human factors, data mining, physiological modelling, simulation for patient safety.

Professor Alan Merry
Research interests: patient safety, medication error in anaesthesia, quality of healthcare, teamwork, simulation, WHO Safe Surgery Checklist, surgical site infection.

Associate Professor Guy Warman
Research interests: chronobiology and the interplay between anaesthesia and the circadian clock.

Past research topics

Recently completed degrees from the department include:

Scholarships and awards

Apply now for doctoral study