Debbie Munro v10

Senior Lecturer Deborah Munro

Civil Mechanical Rm E547A
Internal Phone: 90446
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

  • Ellis K., Munro D. and Clarke J. (2022) Endometriosis Is Undervalued: A Call to Action.. Front Glob Womens Health 3: 902371. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgwh.2022.902371.
  • Ellis K., Wood R. and Munro D. (2022) The Experiences of Endometriosis Patients with Diagnosis and Treatment in New Zealand. Frontiers in Global Women's Health.
  • Munro D. (2022) A Minor in Biomedical Engineering to Improve Diversity in a Mechanical Engineering Program. Tampa, FL: Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Meeting (ORS2022), 3-6 Feb 2022.
  • Munro D. (2022) Ten-week work experience in Tonga to teach biomedical engineering students the principles of equity and universal design. BMES Biomedical Engineering Education (Experiential Learning Special Edition).
  • Munro D. and Davies TC. (2022) Understanding the Development of Design Thinking in a Biomedical Engineering Third-Year Course. BMES Journal of Biomedical Engineering Education (Experiential Learning Special Edition).