Dr Mahyar Osanlouy

B.Sc. Physiology, B.Sc. (Hons) Medical Science, Grad.Dip.Sci. Computer Science, Ph.D. Bioengineering

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Research Fellow


Mahyar Osanlouy is a research fellow at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. Mahyar has an interdisciplinary background in physiology, neuroscience, computer science, mathematical physics, and bioengineering. His main research interest is theoretical and computational neuroscience. He is currently establishing the first research group at the institute in this field.

Mahyar is also a lead scientist of the SPARC project funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he works closely with the researchers of the Virtual Brain Project.

Before, Mahyar completed his doctoral research between 2013 and 2017 at the Lungs and Respiratory System Laboratory of the institute. He was the recipient of the doctoral scholarship from the School of Medicine Foundation of the University in recognition of his academic merit. In March 2018, he took up a position at Soul Machines as a research engineer, working on the development of biologically-plausible brain models.

Mahyar first joined the institute in 2012 as a research intern for Kaha Sciences (formerly known as Telemetry Research Inc.).

Research | Current

My research interest lies in the field of theoretical and computational neuroscience. Particularly, I am passionate about how our brains think, make decisions, navigate space, and perceive time. Thanks to the excellent, extensive research in neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology we now have a much better understanding of these phenomena. However, there are still important questions to be answered and mysteries to be unraveled.

We always encourage new, energetic students (Ph.D., Masters, etc.) with a passion for creating the future to join our lab. I like to regard a studentship experience in my group as a mutually educational and collaborative journey into the investigating and/or solving of something very important and exciting. Students interested in doing research should write to me directly at m.osanlouy@auckland.ac.nz, including a CV, transcript, and a description of your short-term and long-term research interests.

Main research:


Theoretical & Computational Neuroscience (Lead)
Exploring the theoretical and computational principles governing various aspects of the brain and nervous system. Specifically, I’d like to know how our brains perceive and experience the surrounding world, and how do space and time influence memory, vision, sensory-motor control, and our perceptions of learning. Using experimental evidence and theoretical frameworks, we seek to discover a unifying principle for these apparently disparate phenomena and functions. Current areas of interest:

  • Variational Free Energy Principle
  • Predictive Coding
  • Neuromorphic systems
  • Integrative neuroimaging

Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions - SPARC
Studying the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating the organ physiology. Particularly, we develop computational methods to map the autonomic neurons in the body.

  • Check out the SPARC portal, and explore the dataset mapping through the Flatmap.

Virtual Brain Project
Contributing to the development of research methods for studying various aspects of the brain structure and hemodynamics.


Side projects:


Investigating methods for learning physics and dynamical laws with artificial neural networks.

Medical Imaging Platform
Developing a comprehensive platform for advanced AI-driven biomedical image processing and analysis.

Lungs & Respiratory System
Studying the impact of age-related lung shape changes on lung function and health.

COVID-19 Modeling
Developing a multi-scale modeling framework to understand the behavior and transmission rate of the COVID-19 virus using agent-based-seir-stochastic modeling approach.

Teaching | Current

  • ENGSCI 700A/B: Part IV Research Project - Level 9

Postgraduate supervision


Gurleen SinghNeuromorphic systems for modelling and understanding of multi-modal brain imaging data. 


Him Chan: Correlation of PSMA PET with multiparametric MRI for prostate cancer using radiomics (main supervisor: Dr. Hayley Reynolds).


  • 2021: Best Publication Award (Runner-up) at the ABI Research Forum (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73117-w)
  • 2021: Nominated and selected to attend the Global Young Scientists Summit, Singapore
  • 2020: Second place for the best scientific image in the Art of Bio Eng
  • 2020: People's choice third place for the best scientific image in the Art of Bio Eng
  • 2017: Winner of BIRU Image Competition's Visualisation and Analysis Award
  • 2017: EM Steer and IM Booth Fund Fellowship
  • 2015: Winner of SPARK Ideas Challenge Commercial Prize
  • 2013: Evelyn May Steer Estate Doctoral Scholarship

Areas of expertise

  • Theoretical & computational neuroscience
  • Cognitive science
  • Bioengineering
  • Computational physiology & modeling
  • Neural connectivity
  • Artificial intelligence

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional societies

  • Member of Society for Neuroscience (SfN)

University of Auckland service (present)

  • Auckland Bioengineering Institute Sustainability committee
  • Auckland Bioengineering Institute Early Career Researchers committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Osanlouy, M., Clark, A. R., Kumar, H., King, C., Wilsher, M. L., Milne, D. G., ... Tawhai, M. H. (2020). Lung and fissure shape is associated with age in healthy never-smoking adults aged 20–90 years. Scientific Reports, 10 (1) Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alys Clark, Haribalan Kumar, Merryn Tawhai
  • Zhang, Y., Osanlouy, M., Clark, A. R., Kumar, H., King, C., Wilsher, M. L., ... Tawhai, M. H. (2019). Pulmonary lobar segmentation from computed tomography scans based on a statistical finite element analysis of lobe shape. Paper presented at Conference on Medical Imaging: Image Processing, San Diego, CA. 19 February - 21 February 2019. MEDICAL IMAGING 2019: IMAGE PROCESSING. (pp. 10). 10.1117/12.2512642
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alys Clark, Haribalan Kumar, Merryn Tawhai
  • Osanlouy, M. (2018). Statistical Shape Analysis to Quantify Lung Structure-Function Relationships over the Adult Lifespan The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
  • Clark, A. R., Osanlouy, M., Kumar, H., Yang, Y., & Tawhai, M. H. (2016). A statistically averaged model of the lungs to predict physiology from imaging. Paper presented at Physiology 2016, Dublin, Ireland. 29 July - 31 July 2016. Proceedings of The Physiological Society.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alys Clark, Haribalan Kumar, Merryn Tawhai
  • Tawhai, M., Osanlouy, M., Zhang, Y., King, C., Wilsher, M., Milne, D., ... Clark, A. (2016). A statistical and biophysical model of the young-to-old adult human lung for predicting function from structure. Paper presented at Biomedical Engineering Society, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 5 October - 8 October 2016. Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Merryn Tawhai, Alys Clark
  • Osanlouy, M., Tawhai, M., Kumar, H., Clark, A., & Hoffman, E. (2015). QUANTIFYING AGE-RELATED CHANGES IN PULMONARY LOBAR GEOMETRY. Paper presented at Thoracic Society Australia New Zealand Australian New Zealand Society Respiratory Science Annual Scientific Meeting 2015, Queensland, AUSTRALIA. 27 March - 1 April 2015. RESPIROLOGY. (pp. 1).
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Merryn Tawhai, Haribalan Kumar, Alys Clark
  • Osanlouy, M., Kumar, H., Clark, A. R., Malcolm, D. T. K., Hoffman, E. A., & Tawhai, M. H. (2014). Quantifying the difference in lung shape at FRC between normal old and young subjects. Paper presented at American Thoracic Society 2014 International Conference, San Diego, California, USA. 16 May - 21 May 2014. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Haribalan Kumar, Merryn Tawhai


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 601
New Zealand

Social links

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