Debbie Munro v10

Associate ProfessorDebbie Munro

Civil Mechanical Rm E547A
Developing medical devices, diagnostic sensors, sports equipment, and new biomaterials with the aim of improving people's lives

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

My research revolves around medical devices, biomechanics, and diagnostic sensors for improving people's lives. For much of my career, I worked in the orthopaedic implant industry, designing implants and instruments for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Returning to university later in life to obtain my doctorate, I studied Biological Systems Engineering and designed and patented a wireless, implantable sensor system to measure the progress of spinal fusion. The system is battery-free, so all power and communication is supplied via an external reader. My areas of current research on this are developing a new MEMS fabrication method for the sensor and a new encapsulation material that will be both waterproof and transparent to electromagnetic waves.

Collaborating with the Auckland Bioengineering Institute's As/Prof David Budgett, I am currently working to commercialise this research. We have seed funding through the MedTech CoRE and KiwiNet for this work.

My other research interests include smart climbing holds for improving athlete performance in sport climbing, optimizing the materials and geometry for spinal cord injury repair scaffolds, investigating gait biomechanics for stroke patients using a force-plate instrumented treadmill, prosthetics and their cognitive load on the wearer, neck braces for MND patients, and means of improving the system for design, donation, repair, and disposal of medical devices in developing countries.

I am the Lead for the Minor in Biomedical Engineering, serve as faculty advisor for the bioengineering club, and also run a ten-week work experience for bioengineering students in the Pacific Islands, where we assist the Ministries of Health improve the quality of healthcare in their countries.

Recent Publications

  • Munro D. (2019) DIY MEMS Fabricating Microelectromechanical Systems in Open Use Labs. Springer International Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-33073-6.
  • Munro D. (2018) DIY Mems Fabricating Micro Electro Mechanical Systems in Open Use Labs. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. 288.
  • Pernus N. and Munro D. (2021) PRELIMINARY STUDY: DEVELOPMENT OF SPORT CLIMBING HOLD MEASUREMENT SYSTEM FOR PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS. In ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE) 5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2021-67624.
  • Munro D. and Gupta M. (2016) Correlation of Strain on Instrumentation to Simulated Posterolateral Lumbar Fusion in a Sheep Model. In 3(Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering): 5. ASME Digital Collections. http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2016-65696.
  • Munro DS., Tsai EC., Lingley AR. and Khbeis MT. (2016) Development of a Microfabricated Sensor System to Measure Lumbar Spinal Fusion. In 3(Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering): 7. ASME Digital Collections. http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/IMECE2016-65703.