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Study Bioengineering at Otago

The Centre for Bioengineering and Nanomedicine at the University of Otago performs cutting‑edge research.

It also gives postgraduate students and industry the opportunity to conduct bioengineering and nanomedicine research with world‑class scientists.

Our vision is to be an interdisciplinary, pure and applied research‑led centre with an international reputation for excellence.

What is bioengineering?

Bioengineering is rooted in physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and the life sciences. It is a multi‑disciplinary approach to the systematic, quantitative, and integrative methods of developing solutions to problems important in biology, medical research, and clinical proactive and population studies.

A PhD within the Centre can be highly rewarding as the projects involve applying basic science to real problems. PhD students can either enroll at the University of Otago or a collaborating institution. We also offer Master of Applied Science and Master of Science degrees in Bioengineering, as well as Bioengineering endorsements for the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science. Candidates are based in one or more departments within the Division of Sciences or Health Sciences.

Our academics and clinicians are active researchers and provide learning based on the latest research across four of the bioengineering activities.

Research profile

The Centre for Bioengineering and Nanomedicine is at the forefront of research into biomaterials, molecular and biomedical imaging, point-of-care technologies, and regenerative medicine.

We have diverse strengths across physical, engineering, and biomedical sciences that enable excellence in research.


Research into biomaterials involves the precise engineering of novel materials including molecularly engineered biomaterials, and the fabrication of biomaterials into medical devices and technology for biomedical applications (human and animal). It encompasses elements of medicine, materials science, and tissue engineering.


The MARS group are world leaders in spectral X‑ray technology for molecular imaging of clinical models of human disease. The goal of our research is to work with industrial partners to develop a commercial spectral scanner for molecular imaging. It has the potential to advance diagnosis and treatment of major health diseases in new ways, by detecting spectral (colour) differences in tissues, and measuring markers of disease and response to treatment.

Point-of-care technologies

Enormous amounts of data are routinely collected from patients in hospital intensive care units. Our research focuses on developing technologies that are powerful, specific, non‑invasive, yet low cost, that can optimise precision medicine in critical care situations. With state-of-the-art facilities and expertise to conduct multidisciplinary research using new point-of-care technologies and devices, we can translate the research from the bench-to-bed, as well as bed-to-bench, to provide better patient care.

Regenerative medicine

Regenerative medicine (RM) and tissue engineering (TE) combine a patient’s own cells with biodegradable scaffolds and growth factors. These therapies may offer considerable advantages over current surgical interventions used to repair or regenerate damaged tissues following trauma or disease. We are also researching their application in translating cell-based therapies to the clinic.

Contact details


Programme requirements

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Bioengineering

  • BIOE 401 Research Methods
  • BIOE 403 Bioengineering Design
  • BIOE 404  Medical Devices and Technology
  • ENTR 421 Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • Three further approved papers at 400-level which may include:
    • BIOE 405  Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells
    • BIOE 480  Research Project
  • APPS 597 Supervised Independent Study

Master of Science (MSc) in Bioengineering

Papers and Thesis
  • BIOE 401  Research Methods
  • BIOE 404  Medical Devices and Technology
  • BIOE 495  Master's Thesis Preparation
  • Two further approved papers at 400-level which may include:
    • BIOE 403  Bioengineering Design
    • BIOE 405  Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells
  • Thesis: BIOE 5