Outstanding Doctoral Award Recipient
School of Engineering
Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies
Sandra Grau Bartual has achieved many things in her academic career, the publication of three Q1 journal articles as first author, 5 peer reviewed conference papers and she is also the author and inventor of an international patent published in 2019. She has received two best paper awards from one of the largest annual NZ scientific gathering (Queenstown Research Week), been selected as reviewer’s choice poster on podium in Respiratory Drug Delivery (RDD) USA congress and was the recipient of an AUT Vice-Chancellor’s Doctoral Scholarship.
Sandra’s thesis covered research on the analysis of the human upper airway humidification, and successfully demonstrated her biomedical engineering skills, such as epithelial cell culture, airflow modelling, polymer synthesis and structure optimisation, new product design and development, and clinical trials and studies between others.
She is currently research leader and chief engineer at the Institute of Biomedical Technologies (IBTec) at AUT and AUT Ventures Limited. Having secured two successful funding applications totalling over $1 million from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and KiwiNet funding, she is leading the research to commercialise the new smart humidification technology she developed and patented, which is currently aiming to reduce the spread of viruses like COVID-19 in hospital settings.
“We are working very hard on the commercialisation of my technology since its clear application in the biomedical field of respiratory therapies and its direct benefit in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic will improve the lives of many patients.
“This award provides great recognition to my career and makes my research visible both in the academic and industrial world. It may be the key to obtaining future funds and grants to keep the research alive and moving toward new applications to improve people's quality of life in the next years.”