Professor Martyn Nash

BE(Hons), PhD


The primary focus of Martyn's research career has been on bioengineering analyses of the heart in order to understand mechanisms and events underlying cardiac electro-mechanical activity. His PhD focussed on computational modelling and imaging of cardiac mechanics, and subsequently (as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford from 1997-2002) he established experimental and clinical research programmes to study the electrophysiological function and dysfunction of the heart.

Since returning to Auckland in 2003, Martyn has continued his heart research in collaboration with colleagues in the UK, NZ and Europe. He has also developed new bioengineering research themes applying his modelling and analysis expertise to other organ systems - specifically studying biomechanics of the breast, skin, pelvic floor, lungs, tongue, head (shaken baby syndrome) and equine hoof - much of this through the variety of graduate students that he has supervised.

He develops and applies novel and efficient computational tools in order to interpret the variety and vast quantity of biological observations and recordings that are available from laboratory and clinical studies. He is also engaged in the design and refinement of experimental techniques, medical imaging and bioinstrumentation in order to generate data of sufficient quality to further inform the mathematical modelling analyses. This continual interplay between biological observation, instrumentation and mathematical modelling provides mechanistic insight into physiological function.

Martyn strives to apply this research to facilitate (i) the development of improved medical imaging, biomedical devices and diagnostic techniques, and (ii) the elucidation of possible therapeutic targets for prevention and treatment of disease.

Research | Current

Biomechanics for breast cancer imaging

Modelling breast deformation during various imaging modalities (X-ray, MRI, CT) with applications to breast cancer detection and management. Learn more about this research at the ABI's Biomechanics for Breast Imaging project page. or from theses by:

Cardiac mechanics

Mathematical modelling and mechanics of the beating heart using the finite element method (FEM). Implementation of efficient optimisation algorithms and parallel processing techniques to estimate material properties and to predict accurate distributions of mechanical stress throughout the ventricular walls during the heart cycle. Learn more about this research at the ABI's Cardiac Research project pages or from theses by:

Electrocardiographic imaging

Heart and body ECG mapping during normal sinus rhythm, ventricular pacing, ventricular fibrillation, localised ischaemia, abnormal ventricular automaticity, hyperkalaemia. Development and validation of inverse ECG modelling methods to electrically image the heart non-invasively. Learn more about this research at the ABI's Cardiac Research project pages or at the web sites of my collaborators: Professor Richard Clayton (University of Sheffield); Professor David Paterson (University of Oxford); Professor Peter Taggart (University College London).

Cardiac electromechanics

Interactions between cardiac electrophysiology and tissue mechanics to investigate mechanisms of re-entrant arrhythmias in the heart. Learn more about this research at the ABI's Cardiac Research project pages or at the web site of my collaborator Professor Sasha Panfilov (University of Gent).

Soft tissue mechanics and measurement

I also participate in a variety of other collaborative research projects, having worked together with the following graduate students:

Teaching | Current

Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Science


Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  1. Alex Dixon (Sep15-present), Non-destructive estimation of mechanical properties of biological membranes. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)
  2. Abdallah Hasaballah (Aug15-present), Linking myocardial mechanics and microstructural remodelling during heart failure. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Ian LeGrice.)
  3. Bianca Freytag (Feb15-present), Model-based analysis of fibrosis imaging for cardiac mechanics. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young.)
  4. Zhinuo (Jenny) Wang (Mar14-present), Mechanics and mechanisms of human heart failure. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young, Chris Bradley.)
  5. Samuel Richardson (Dec13-present), Development of an optical coherence tomography based skin cancer diagnostic tool. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)
  6. Renee Miller (Jul13-present), Cardiac magnetic resonance elastography. (Jointly with Alistair Young.)
  7. Chun Meng (Alex) Goh (Jul13-present), Modelling soft tissue mechanics using meshfree methods. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.)
  8. Alexander Wilson (May12-present), Biomechanics of diastolic heart failure. (Jointly with Ian LeGrice.)
  9. Amir HajiRassouliha (Jul13-submitted Apr17), Hardware acceleration of cross-correlation-based identification of surface geometry of deformable bodies. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)
  10. Nikini Puhulwelle Gamage (Apr12-submitted Oct16), Soft tissue deformations in abusive head trauma. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) 
  11. Matthew Parker (Aug11-submitted Oct16), Identification of the mechanical properties of living skin: an instrumentation and modelling study. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.)
  12. Xiani (Nancy) Yan (Mar10-submitted Dec16), Modelling the second stage of labour. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Jenny Kruger.) Present post (@2016): Lab for Animate Technologies, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  13. Thiranja Prasad Babarenda Gamage (Mar09-Jul16), Constitutive parameter identifiability and the design of experiments for applications in breast biomechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2016): Post-doc, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  14. Adam Reeve (Mar10-Apr15), The mechanics of vascularised tissue. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous post (@2016): Xero, Auckland, NZ. Presently working in London, UK.
  15. Thomas Lintern (Mar10-Feb15), Modelling infant head kinematics in abusive head trauma. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous post (@2015-6): Technology Advisory Analyst, Deloitte New Zealand, Wellington, NZ. Present post (@2016): Data Scientist, Wellington, NZ.
  16. Yikun (Colin) Wang (Mar09-Mar14), Modelling tongue mechanics. (Jointly with Oliver Röhrle.) Present post (@2015): FEA Engineer, Quest Integrity NZL Ltd, Wellington, NZ.
  17. Vicky Yang Wang (Mar07-Feb12), Modelling in-vivo cardiac mechanics using MRI and FEM. (Jointly with Alistair Young.) Present post (@2017): National Heart Foundation Research Fellow, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  18. Hoi Ieng (Helen) Lam (Mar07-Feb12), Mathematical tools for ventricular analysis using cardiac MRI. (Jointly with Alistair Young.) Present post (@2016): Post-doc (part-time), Centre for Advanced MRI, University of Auckland, NZ.
  19. Glenn Ramsey (Mar04-Feb12; part-time), Equine hoof biomechanics. (Jointly with Peter Hunter.) Present post (@2014): Post-doc (part-time), Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  20. Angela Wing Chung Lee (Mar07-Dec11), Breast image fusion using biomechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Vijay Rajagopal.) Present post (@2017): Post-doc, King's College London, UK.
  21. Xinshan (Shannon) Li (Mar07-Mar11), Modelling levator ani mechanics during the second stage of labour. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2017): Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK.
  22. Jessica Wing Yun Jor (Mar06-Oct10), Modelling the structure and mechanical properties of skin. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Peter Hunter.) Present post (@2014): Post-doc (part-time), Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  23. Jae-Hoon Chung (Mar04-Mar08), Modelling mammographic mechanics. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2017): Rolls-Royce Engines, UK.
  24. Vijayaraghavan Rajagopal (Mar03-May07), Modelling breast tissue mechanics under gravity loading. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen.) Previous post (@2012-15): Post-doc NUS Singapore. Present post (@2017): Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  25. Holger Schmid (Mar03-Aug06), Passive myocardial mechanics. (Jointly with Peter Hunter.) Previous position (@2009): Post-doc, University of Aachen, Germany.

Masters students

  1. Megan Guidry (2016), Modelling cardiac mechano-energetics. (Jointly with David Nickerson, Denis Loiselle, Kenneth Tran.) Present post (@2017): Research Assistant, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  2. Alex Dixon (2015), An optomechanical instrument for pericardial tissue selection in bioprosthetic heart valves. (Jointly with Andrew Taberner, Poul Nielsen.) Present post (@2016): PhD student, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  3. Bianca Freytag (2014) (RWTH Aachen University, Germany). Model-based analysis of fibrosis imaging for cardiac mechanics. (Jointly with Vicky Wang, Alistair Young.) Present post (@2016): PhD student, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, NZ.
  4. Lauren Dupuis (2014), Mechano-energetics of the heart. (Jointly with Denis Loiselle.) Present post (@2016): PhD student, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
  5. Justyna Niestrawska (2013) (RWTH Aachen University, Germany): A structure-based analysis of cardiac remodelling – a constitutive modelling approach. (Jointly with Vicky Wang.) Present post (@2016): PhD student, Graz University of Technology, Austria.
  6. Mihailo Azhar (2012), 3D point tracking in stereoscopy using a phase based cross-correlation method. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner.) Previous position (@2015): Orion Health, Auckland, NZ.
  7. Darren Alvarez (2009), A 3D strain measurement system for soft material. (Jointly with Poul Nielsen, Andrew Taberner, Cormac Flynn.) Previous positions: PhD student and Post-doc, University of New South Wales, Australia. Present post (@2016): ResearchGate, Berlin, Germany.


  • 2009-11 James Cook Research Fellowship, Royal Society of NZ.
  • 2011 Faculty of Engineering Top 20 Teaching Award, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2006 Marsden Fund Faststart Award, Royal Society of NZ.
  • 2003 Vice Chancellor's Research Excellence Award, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 2002 E.P.A. Cephalosporin Research Fellowship, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, UK.
  • 1992 William Georgetti Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1992 N.Z. Vice Chancellor's Committee Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 James Gordon Goodfellow Memorial Prize (Best Graduate in Engineering), University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) Craven Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.
  • 1991 Bank of New Zealand Postgraduate Scholarship, University of Auckland, NZ.


Areas of expertise

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomechanics
  • Electrophysiology

A list of publications is available from my Google Scholar page.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Professional societies

  • 2011- Member of International Society for Biomechanics (ISB)
  • 2008- Member of Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR)
  • 2007- Member of Medical Image Computing & Computer Aided Intervention Society (MICCAI)
  • 2007- Member of Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • 2004- Academic visitor, Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2004- Member IEEE Engineering and Medicine in Biology Society (EMBS)
  • 2003- Member Physiological Society of NZ (PSNZ)
  • 2003- Member Association of University Staff (AUS), NZ

University of Auckland service (present)

  • 2011- Deputy Head of Department (Biomedical), Department of Engineering Science
  • 2010- Department of Engineering Science Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC)
  • 2010- Auckland Bioengineering Institute Strategic and Budget Committees
  • 2003- Auckland Bioengineering Institute Management Committee (Principal Investigator)

University of Auckland service (past)

  • 2006-14 Auckland Bioengineering Institute Staffing Advisory Committee (DSAC)
  • 2009-13 University of Auckland Research Committee
  • 2008-13 Associate Director Research, Auckland Bioengineering Institute
  • 2007-13 Auckland Bioengineering Institute FRDF/PBRF Funding Allocation Committee
  • 2007-13 University of Auckland Associate Deans Research Committee
  • 2011 University of Auckland MSI Assistance Strategy Steering Group

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary location

Level 7, Room 715
New Zealand

Web links