Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Health Sciences staff profiles

Dr Johann Zwirner

PositionLecturer
DepartmentDepartment of Anatomy
QualificationsMD Dr (med)
Research summaryBiomechanics, forensics and surgically-relevant anatomy

Research

Johann is a trained medical doctor who originally joined the department on a one year mission to refine laparoscopic approaches to deep pelvic structures. As Dunedin was too beautiful to leave after this short time, he continued working on this project which developed into exploring the role of deep pelvic structures as attachment points for incontinence surgery.

Surrounded by an outstanding team in Otago, Johann’s main research focus is now the mechanical characterisation of tissue layers of the human head. His research helps to obtain fundamental material parameters applicable to virtual reality simulators used in surgery, and the design of realistic human head models to be used in forensic pathology.

Together with a diverse team of national and international collaborators, Johann works on a number of other clinically relevant anatomical topics such as the:

  • Biomechanical role of fat in various body parts
  • Influence of chemical treatments on the biomechanical behaviour of human tissues
  • Biomechanical role of the calcaneus in force transmission between the calf and the foot

Johann uses a wide range of imaging techniques such as:

  • Computed Tomography
  • Digital Image Correlation (simultaneous with biomechanical tests)
  • Light Microscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • 3D-Scanning

Johann combines imaging techniques with various methods to learn about the biomechanical behavior of human tissues:

  • Atomic Force Microscopy (additionally used for imaging)
  • Nano Indenting
  • Universal Testing Machines running in both tensile and compressive modes

Publications

Höch, A., Özkurtul, O., Hammer, N., Heinemann, A., Tse, R., Zwirner, J., … Ondruschka, B. (2021). A comparison on the detection accuracy of ante mortem computed tomography vs. autopsy for the diagnosis of pelvic ring injury in legal medicine. Journal of Forensic Sciences. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14677

Zwirner, J., Koutp, A., Vidakovic, H., Ondruschka, B., Kieser, D. C., & Hammer, N. (2021). Assessment of plantaris and peroneus tertius tendons as graft materials for ankle ligament reconstructions: A cadaveric biomechanical study. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 115, 104244. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104244

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., Schulze‑Tanzil, G., & Hammer, N. (2021). Biomechanical characterization of human temporal muscle fascia in uniaxial tensile tests for graft purposes in duraplasty. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 2127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80448-1

Poilliot, A., Doyle, T., Kurosawa, D., Toranelli, M., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., … Hammer, N. (2021). Computed tomography osteoabsorptiometry-based investigation on subchondral bone plate alterations in sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Scientific Reports, 11, 8652. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-88049-2

Tomlinson, J., Ondruschka, B., Prietzel, T., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2021). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the hip capsule innervation and its clinical implications. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 5299. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-84345-z

Journal - Research Article

Höch, A., Özkurtul, O., Hammer, N., Heinemann, A., Tse, R., Zwirner, J., … Ondruschka, B. (2021). A comparison on the detection accuracy of ante mortem computed tomography vs. autopsy for the diagnosis of pelvic ring injury in legal medicine. Journal of Forensic Sciences. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14677

Tomlinson, J., Ondruschka, B., Prietzel, T., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2021). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the hip capsule innervation and its clinical implications. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 5299. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-84345-z

Poilliot, A., Doyle, T., Kurosawa, D., Toranelli, M., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., … Hammer, N. (2021). Computed tomography osteoabsorptiometry-based investigation on subchondral bone plate alterations in sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Scientific Reports, 11, 8652. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-88049-2

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., Schulze‑Tanzil, G., & Hammer, N. (2021). Biomechanical characterization of human temporal muscle fascia in uniaxial tensile tests for graft purposes in duraplasty. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 2127. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80448-1

Zwirner, J., Koutp, A., Vidakovic, H., Ondruschka, B., Kieser, D. C., & Hammer, N. (2021). Assessment of plantaris and peroneus tertius tendons as graft materials for ankle ligament reconstructions: A cadaveric biomechanical study. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 115, 104244. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104244

Zwirner, J., Safavi, S., Scholze, M., Li, K. C., Waddell, J. N., Busse, B., … Hammer, N. (2021). Topographical mapping of the mechanical characteristics of the human neurocranium considering the role of individual layers. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 3721. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-80548-y

Singh, A., Zwirner, J., Templer, F., Kieser, D., Klima, S., & Hammer, N. (2021). On the morphological relations of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia via the calcaneus: A cadaveric study. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 5986. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-85251-0

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., & Hammer, N. (2020). Passive load-deformation properties of human temporal muscle. Journal of Biomechanics, 106, 109829. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109829

De Decker, A., Fergusson, R., Ondruschka, B., Hammer, N., & Zwirner, J. (2020). Anatomical structures at risk using different approaches for sacrospinous ligament fixation. Clinical Anatomy, 33, 522-529. doi: 10.1002/ca.23404

Brooks, T., Zwirner, J., Hammer, N., Ondruschka, B., & Jermy, M. (2020). Preliminary observations of the sequence of damage in excised human juvenile cranial bone at speeds equivalent to falls from 1.6 m. International Journal of Legal Medicine. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s00414-020-02409-7

Poilliot, A., Tannock, M., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2020). Quantification of fat in the posterior sacroiliac joint region applying a semi-automated segmentation method. Computer Methods & Programs in Biomedicine, 191, 105386. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2020.105386

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., & Hammer, N. (2020). Surface coating and speckling of the human iliotibial tract does not affect its load-deformation properties. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 20747. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77299-1

Zwirner, J., Scholze, M., Ondruschka, B., & Hammer, N. (2020). What is considered a variation of biomechanical parameters in tensile tests of collagen-rich human soft tissues? Critical considerations using the human cranial dura mater as a representative morpho-mechanic model. Medicina, 56, 520. doi: 10.3390/medicina56100520

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., Schulze-Tanzil, G., & Hammer, N. (2020). Load-deformation characteristics of acellular human scalp: Assessing tissue grafts from a material testing perspective. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 19243. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-75875-z

Taylor, S. C., Hammer, N., Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., & Kieser, D. C. (2020). Morphometric and density comparisons of Bos taurus scapulae as a proxy to human frontal crania. Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 10, 17. doi: 10.1186/s41935-020-00191-6

Poilliot, A., Li, K. C., Müller-Gerbl, M., Toranelli, M., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2020). Subchondral bone strength of the sacroiliac joint: A combined approach using computed tomography osteoabsorptiometry (CT-OAM) imaging and biomechanical validation. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.103978

Tomlinson, J., Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Prietzel, T., & Hammer, N. (2020). Innervation of the hip joint capsular complex: A systematic review of histological and immunohistochemical studies and their clinical implications for contemporary treatment strategies in total hip arthroplasty. PLoS ONE, 15(2), e0229128. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229128

Ondruschka, B., König, C. J., Zwirner, J., & Bayer, R. (2020). Forensische untersuchung und spurensicherung bei sexualdelikten: Schritt für schritt [Forensic investigation and identification in sexual assaults: Step by step]. Frauenheilkunde up2date, 14(1), 15-23. doi: 10.1055/a-1069-4136

Crosado, B., Löffler, S., Ondruschka, B., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2020). Phenoxyethanol-based embalming for anatomy teaching: An 18-years' experience with Crosado embalming at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Anatomical Sciences Education, 13, 778-793. doi: 10.1002/ase.1933

Zwirner, J., Zhang, M., Ondruschka, B., Makita, K., & Hammer, N. (2020). An ossifying bridge: On the structural continuity between the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia. Scientific Reports, 10, 14523. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-71316-z

Choi, J. J. E., Zwirner, J., Ramani, R. S., Ma, S., Hussaini, H. M., Waddell, J. N., & Hammer, N. (2020). Mechanical properties of human oral mucosa tissues are site dependent: A combined biomechanical, histological and ultrastructural approach. Clinical & Experimental Dental Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cre2.305

Scholze, M., Safavi, S., Li, K. C., Ondruschka, B., Werner, M., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2020). Standardized tensile testing of soft tissue using a 3D printed clamping system. HardwareX, 8, e00159. doi: 10.1016/j.ohx.2020.e00159

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., Schulze-Tanzil, G., & Hammer, N. (2020). Mechanical properties of native and acellular temporal muscle fascia for surgical reconstruction and computational modelling purposes. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 108, 103833. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.103833

Ondruschka, B., Lee, J. H. C., Scholze, M., Zwirner, J., Tong, D., Waddell, J. N., & Hammer, N. (2019). A biomechanical comparison between human calvarial bone and a skull simulant considering the role of attached periosteum and dura mater. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 133, 1603-1610. doi: 10.1007/s00414-019-02102-4

Trautz, F., Franke, H., Bohnert, S., Hammer, N., Müller, W., Stassart, R., … Zwirner, J., … Ondruschka, B. (2019). Survival-time dependent increase in neuronal IL-6 and astroglial GFAP expression in fatally injured human brain tissue. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 11771. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48145-w

Zwirner, J., Scholze, M., Waddell, J. N., Ondruschka, B., & Hammer, N. (2019). Mechanical properties of human dura mater in tension: An analysis at an age range of 2 to 94 years. Scientific Reports, 9, 16655. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52836-9

Zwirner, J., Babian, C., Ondruschka, B., Schleifenbaum, S., Scholze, M., Waddell, N. J., & Hammer, N. (2019). Tensile properties of the human iliotibial tract depend on height and weight. Medical Engineering & Physics, 69, 85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2019.05.001

Poilliot, A., Doyle, T., Tomlinson, J., Zhang, M., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2019). Quantification of fat in the posterior sacroiliac joint region: Fat volume is sex and age dependant. Scientific Reports, 9, 14935. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51300-y

Ondruschka, B., Baier, C., Bernhard, M., Buschmann, C., Dreβler, J., Schlote, J., Zwirner, J., & Hammer, N. (2019). Frequency and intensity of pulmonary bone marrow and fat embolism due to manual or automated chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Forensic Science, Medicine, & Pathology, 15, 48-55. doi: 10.1007/s12024-018-0044-1

Zwirner, J., Ondruschka, B., Scholze, M., Schulze-Tanzil, G., & Hammer, N. (2019). Mechanical and morphological description of human acellular dura mater as a scaffold for surgical reconstruction. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 96, 38-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2019.04.035

Zwirner, J., Scholze, M., Ondruschka, B., & Hammer, N. (2019). Tissue biomechanics of the human head are altered by Thiel embalming, restricting its use for biomechanical validation. Clinical Anatomy, 32(7), 903-913. doi: 10.1002/ca.23409

Zwirner, J., Möbius, D., Bechmann, I., Arendt, T., Hoffmann, K.-T., Jäger, C., … Hammer, N. (2017). Subthalamic nucleus volumes are highly consistent but decrease age-dependently: A combined magnetic resonance imaging and stereology approach in humans. Human Brain Mapping, 38(2), 909-922. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23427

Zwirner, J., Bayer, R., Japes, A., Eplinius, F., Dreβler, J., & Ondruschka, B. (2017). Suicide by the intraoral blast of firecrackers: Experimental simulation using a skull simulant model. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 131(6), 1581-1587. doi: 10.1007/s00414-017-1580-z

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Other

Ondruschka, B., Babian, C., Neef, M., Zwirner, J., & Schwarz, M. (2019). Entomological and cardiologic evidence of time since death in short postmortem intervals. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 64(4), 1563-1567. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14010

Ondruschka, B., Schwarz, M., Hammer, N., Zwirner, J., Kieser, D., Morrow, P., … Tse, R. (2019). Forensic pathology routine at the antipode: Insights into New Zealand's legal medicine [Forensik am anderen Ende der Welt: Einblicke in Neuseelands Rechtsmedizin]. Archiv für Kriminologie, 243, 168-182. [Commentary].

Poilliot, A. J., Zwirner, J., Doyle, T., & Hammer, N. (2019). A systematic review of the normal sacroiliac joint anatomy and adjacent tissues for pain physicians. Pain Physician, 22(4), E247-E274. [Review].

Zwirner, J., Bayer, R., Hädrich, C., Bollmann, A., Klein, N., Dreβler, J., & Ondruschka, B. (2016). Pulmonary artery perforation and coronary air embolism: Two fatal outcomes in percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 131(1), 191-197. doi: 10.1007/s00414-016-1486-1

More publications...