About Dr. Munro

Dr. Deborah Munro

Dr. Deborah Munro has over 25 years of experience in mechanical and biomedical engineering.

She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of the Pacific, her master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and her doctorate in biological systems engineering from the University of California at Davis.

She began her career in industry working for NASA Ames in the mechanical systems and controls branch before spending two years in Japan designing electrical connectors. She then moved to Utah where she designed and performed the FEA work for several dinosaurs in the Universal Studios Hollywood Jurassic Park Ride.

Dr. Munro then gravitated to the orthopedic medical device field and designed hip and knee total joint replacement systems and became knowledgeable about FDA and EU regulatory compliance. She continued to work in the orthopedic medical device and biomechanics field for over a dozen years, designing implants and instruments and writing clinical literature reviews, meta-analyses, and patentability reviews. She then worked as an engineering consultant for a few years before transitioning to teaching mechanical and biomedical engineering at the University of Portland, where she developed courses in CNC automated manufacturing and biomechanics. She now teaches and conducts biomedical research at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

She is in the process of commercializing her spinal fusion sensor research.

News About Deborah Munro

“UC inventors win big at NZ’s first HealthTech innovation challenge”

Deborah Munro wins Large Enterprise Category

Dr Deborah Munro wins Large Enterprise Category at the HealthTech Supernode Challenge 2020

Several University of Canterbury (UC) innovators and their health technology solutions are among the inaugural winners of the first HealthTech Supernode Challenge on October 22, 2020, a national innovation challenge, announced at an awards ceremony in Christchurch last night.

The aim of the Challenge was to identify and generate commercially viable innovations to address real healthcare problems, particularly in the aged care and rural care sectors. The country’s most inventive and life-changing healthcare ideas and initiatives were refined from 128 entries to eight finalists.

At Thursday’s event, which took place at Manawa in Christchurch’s Health Innovation Precinct, the eight finalists pitched their innovations to a VIP judging panel, which included microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Ministry of Health Chief Science Advisor Ian Town, UC Head of Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies Sacha McMeeking, and Chief Executive of ChristchurchNZ Joanna Norris.

Category winners were:

  • UC Engineering PhD candidate Lui Holder-Pearson (who also worked with his supervisor UC Professor Geoff Chase’s low-cost ventilator solution for Covid-19 patients) won the Best Solution from a Student Team for the Accessible Insulin Pump;
  • UC Engineering academic Dr Deborah Munro won the Best Solution from a Large Enterprise team for the Diagnostic Implantable Sensor System For Spinal Fusion;
  • UC Science academic from UC’s Rose Centre for Stroke Recovery and Research, Professor Maggie-Lee Huckabee won the Best Solution from a Canterbury team for BiSSkApp; and
  • Richard Shepherd and his team including the inventor UC Engineering academic Professor Keith Alexander, won the Best Aged Care Solution prize for the HT Systems Kera Transfer Aid.
  • Best solution from a startup team: Next Step™ by Richard Anthony McCulloch, which was the overall winner.
  • University of Canterbury innovations and researchers were involved in five of the eight finalists, including the category winners and Stable Fall Prevention Platform by UC MBA student Shane Wilson.

From 128 applicants, 22 finalists took part in an intensive six-week pre-accelerator programme that included support from local and national mentors, guest speakers, coaches, and judges.

Delivered by the Ministry of Awesome and the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) with support from ChristchurchNZ, KiwiNet and Ryman Healthcare, the HealthTech Supernode Challenge aims to position Christchurch as New Zealand’s centre of health innovation by attracting and growing talent, business and innovation.

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“Prof Deborah Munro Joins Mechanical Engineering Department”

Developing a Biomedical Engineering Program in New Zealand

Prof Munro loves to help improve people’s lives, teaching and sharing knowledge and working with next generation engineering researchers.

The Department of ME welcomes Prof Debbie Munro as a new Staff member.

Prof Munro joins us from Portland, USA where she was based for the last decade. A Californian by education, Prof Munro has a Bachelor’s and Master’s from the University of the Pacific and Stanford University respectively (both in Mechanical Engineering), and a PhD in Biological Systems Engineering from University of California at Davis.

It would not be wrong to say that Prof Munro reached for the stars! She began working at NASA’s Ames Research Centre where she designed support equipment for life science experiments in the wind tunnels and on the Space Shuttle. Then she worked in Japan (and can speak Japanese quite well), returned to NASA, worked on cool robotic dinosaurs at Universal Studios Hollywood and also managed to teach for nearly a decade!

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Fun facts about Prof Munro

Not at all restricted by academics and research, Prof Munro has also published a technical book called DIY MEMS: Fabricating Micro Electro Mechanical Systems in Open Use Labs to guide enthusiasts to develop sensors for their applications.

Her next book will be a present day science fiction novel called APEX.

“Hands-On Biomechanics Lab Using Vernier Technology”

2014 Vernier Engineering Contest Winner — College Level

Walking force profiles demonstrationDr. Munro created a course that features a six-station lab to give students hands-on experience of how different laboratory equipment can be used for biomedical research. In addition, this course provides exposure to testing with human subjects, an introduction to anatomy, physiology, and the terminology used in the medical industry. The students use Vernier sensors to gather data to answer posed questions and create their own open-ended research questions. The data is analyzed using Logger Pro software. Logger Pro is also used to perform video analysis on the subjects.

Link to Vernier website documentation and video

 2011 “Walking Biomechanics Using a Force Plate”

Dr. Munro with her walking force plate biomechanics deviceUsing a wooden ramp fitted with a Vernier Force Plate, Dr. Munro’s students collected force data using LabQuest Mini and Logger Pro software. Through analysis in Logger Pro, her students investigated the effects of various types of shoes on walking force profiles.

Link to Vernier’s Innovate page

University of Portland Master’s of Biomedical Engineering

University of Portland engineering studentsDr. Munro designed and implemented the Master’s of Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Portland, which is a 12-month professional program that immerses students in the technical, scientific, medical, business, and management aspects of the healthcare industry.

The curriculum includes a unique 3-course sequence she designed that allows students to develop and market a medical device, exposing them to the real-world applications of medical technologies. Between the interdisciplinary curriculum, the experiential internship, and the connection to a thriving healthcare community in Portland, graduates will be well prepared to tackle current and future healthcare challenges.

Link to Biomedical Engineering

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