Dr David White

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Senior Lecturer / Director - BioDesign Lab

Phone: (+64) 9 921-9999 ext. 8352

Email: david.white@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
AUT University
WD Building, Level 4
Room WD401
St Paul Street
Auckland Central
Postal Address:
School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand


PhD, ME,BE, NZCE, Auto-Eng.

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Physiological Society of New Zealand (PSNZ)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • European Respiratory Society (ERS)
  • Australasian Sleep Association (ASA)


David White is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) where he has been a faculty member since 1993.  David completed his M.E. and PhD at AUT and his undergraduate studies at the University of Auckland.  With a strong industry and academic background in mechanical design, David has focussed on applied biomedical research that provides advances in breathing therapies and devices.  These include a lung simulator, pressure limiting flow regulator, simulator of premature neonate lung surfactant dynamics, airway tracheal tissue test apparatus and novel patented breathing interface systems.  More recently his obstructive sleep apnoea research work has led to the development of the innovative RACer breathing system. His research interests span the areas of design and biomedical engineering.  In recent years he has focused on the human upper respiratory system with simulation of air-conditioning within the nasal cavity. Acting in his role of BioDesign Lab Director, David is highly motivated to commercialise the intellectual property generated from his applied research.

In prior work he has designed vehicle control mechanisms and engine improvements resulting in him holding two patents in these fields.  Vehicle design has featured strongly in past work and David has provided engineering solutions for successful land-speed record attempts and other specialist vehicles.

David is a strong advocate of interdisciplinary research and has previously undertaken over twenty engineering design consultancy projects spanning many areas of expertise.  These include diagnosis of building ventilation issues through to the design of a freeze crystallisation water purification system and kinematic sculpture development.

Teaching Areas:

  • Mechanical Design
  • Biomedical Thermo-Fluids

Research Areas:

  • Human upper airway and respiratory mechanics
  • Breathing therapies and devices
  • Medical device design


Recent Journal Publications
  • Blane, G., Gibb, N. E., Lim, S. G. -S., Gillard, W. R., White, D. E., Docherty, P. D., Hyndman, J. (2016). Preventing lung damage via automation and optimisation of mechanical ventilation for critically ill patients in the third world. New Zealand Medical Journal, 129(1439), 89-90.
  • White, D.E., Bartley, J., Shakeel, M., Nates, R.J. and Hankin, R.K.S. (2016). Nasal airway responses to nasal continuous positive air pressure breathing: An in-vivo pilot study. Journal of Biomechanics, 49(9), 1887-1890. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2016.04.034.
  • Amoedo, S., Thebaud, E., Gschwendtner, M., & White, D. (2016). Novel parameter-based flexure bearing design method. Cryogenics, 76, 1-9. doi:10.1016/j.cryogenics.2016.03.002
  • White, D. E., Bartley, J., Shakeel, M., & Hughes, C. (2015). Clinical study of n-CPAP elicited change in nasal airflow partitioning as potential cause of mucosal drying. European Respiratory Journal, 46(suppl 59). doi:10.1183/13993003.congress-2015.PA2314
  • White, D. E., Bartley, J., & Nates, R. J. (2015). Model demonstrates functional purpose of the nasal cycle. BioMedical Engineering Online, 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12938-015-0034-4.
  • White, D. E., Nates, R. J., & Bartley, J. (2014). A pilot study of an in-vitro bovine trachea model of the effect of continuous positive airway pressure breathing on airway surface liquid. BioMedical Engineering OnLine, 13(1), 1-12. doi:10.1186/1475-925X-13-12.
  • White, D. E., Al-Jumaily, A. M., Bartley, J., & Sommervell, A. (2011). Nasal Air-Conditioning During Breathing Therapy. Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews, 7(3), 213-225. doi:10.2174/157339811795589414.
  • White, D. E., Al-Jumaily, A. M., Bartley, J., & Lu, J. (2011). Correlation of nasal morphology to air-conditioning and clearance function. Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, 179(2-3), 137-141. doi:10.1016/j.resp.2011.07.009.
Recent Conference Proceedings
  • Loy, J., Reay, S., & White, D. (2015). Raising Our Game: Creating New Learning Experiences with Research Collaborations. In International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. UK.
  • White, D. E., Bartley, J., & Nates, R. J. (2015). Functional purpose of the nasal cycle explained by computational modelling. In The 2015 Australian and New Zealand Rhinologic Conference. Auckland University of Technology.
  • White, D. E., Nates, R. J., & Bartley, J. (2014). Pilot study into the causes of airway drying during continuous positive air pressure breathing. In 7th World Congress in Biomechanics (WCB 2014) (pp. 4,687 (7 Vols) pages). Hynes Convention Centre: Curran Associates, Inc. (Jan 2015).
  • White, D. E., Nates, J. R., & Bartley, J. (2014). Pilot study into the causes of airway drying during continuous positive air pressure breathing using an in-vitro bovine trachea model. In Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci) 2014. Queenstown, New Zealand.
  • White, D. E., Bartley, J., & Nates, R. J. (2014). Pilot study into the causes of airway drying during continuous positive air pressure breathing. In J. Humphrey, & R. Kamm (Eds.), 7th World Congress of Biomechanics. Boston, massachusetts, USA.
  • White, D. E., & Bartley, J. (2013). Sleep Apnoea: A model of airway drying during n-PAP therapy. In S. McGlashan, D. Musson, J. Ferdandez, & A. Thambyah (Eds.), 5th Annual Mechanobiology Symposium. Auckland, New Zealand.
  • White, D., Al-Jumaily, A. M., Bartley, J., Lu, J., & Hankin, R. K. S. (2011). Nasal Morphology and Blood Flow During Augmented Air Pressure Breathing Therapies. In Medical Science Congress. Queenstown, New Zealand.
  • Robotham, A. J., Nates, R. J., Raine, J., & White, D. (2013). Reflections on the Challenge of Developing Professional Engineering Designers and Engineering Design Technologists – A New Zealand Perspective. In U. Lindemann, S. Venkataraman, Y. S. Kim, & S. W. Lee (Eds.), International Conference on Engineering Design 2013. Seoul, Korea.
Books and Chapters
  • White, D. E., & Bunn, R. (2013). Motorcycle Blow-by: A Shower of Sparks - Abridged Version (1st ed.). Kindle Book: A. R. Bunn; Abridged Version edition (14 Nov 2013).
  • Youha D, Al Jumaily A, White D. Occlusion Identification and Relief Within Branched Structures. In Biomedical Applications of Vibration and Occiustics in Therapy - Bioeffects and Modeling. 173-213. ASME Press, New York 2008.
  • White, D. E., Makinson, I. D., & Bartley, J. R. F. (2014). 617543, A Patient Interface and Method of Treating Sleep Apnoea. New Zealand: Intellectual Property Office.
  • Bunn AR, White DE., Bunn Counter-Revolutionary Racing Breather. Application number: Innovation Patent Application 2007100399. Granted/Publication date: 2007.
  • McCoid T, White D., Steering and Drive Control System. Patent number: 20080136134 (United States). Granted/Publication date: 2007.

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