Dr Allen Nugent

Q&A with Dr Allen Nugent, an alumnus of UNSW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering and Executive Editor at Biomedical Authoring Services.

What are your memories of studying here at the School?

One distinct memory that I have is the departure of David Russell. He was our workshop technician/toolmaker, who had to retire after a stroke. He was not only a pleasure to work with, but his knowledge and skills made the School almost self-sufficient in designing and building experimental rigs. And he even helped me modify engine parts for my sports car! Some of my best memories of the School are of seeing the faces of my students light up when I succeeded in passing on a difficult concept or a passion for an endeavour. I also particularly remember my own elation when I made a major technical or conceptual breakthrough in my research.

What biomed-type contributions to the world are you most proud of?

There are a couple of biomedical contributions that I’ve made which I am quite proud of. I believe I was the first to map the time-varying, 3D flow field in an artificial heart in high detail, and to render animated visualisations of the actual data. I also developed a practical method for ray tracing across curvilinear boundaries. This simplified the job of managing refraction in model flow studies based on optical measurement technologies.

In terms of your career, what would advise would you give your younger self?

One piece of advice that I would give my younger self is to choose a doctoral research topic that would help to establish a career in industry. I would have liked to pick a topic that would lead to intellectual property and industry connections, rather than one of a purely experimental/theoretical nature.

What are your biggest hopes and dreams for the future of Biomedical Engineering?

I hope to see big advances in the augmentation of tissues and organs by devices. I’d also like to see the development of treatments that encourage autogenous repair and reduce our reliance on mechanical substitution.