Dr Gareth Thomson

Dr Gareth Thomson

Head of Group - Mechanical Engineering and Design


Phone number

0121 204 3608 




Room number

MB 156


I joined Aston University in January 2009, having previously been the course director of the Mechanical Engineering course at the University of Dundee.

In my time at Dundee I was involved in not only the Mechanical Engineering programme but I also set up a joint Product Design degree with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

Prior to this I was a researcher involved in laser applications at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Qualifications & Education 

  • BEng (hons) Mechanical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, 1989
  • MPhil, Heriot-Watt University, 1992
  • PhD in Laser Materials Processing, University of Dundee, 1998


  • 2009 – date: Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, Aston University.
  • 1993 – 2008: Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, University of Dundee, Dundee
  • 1991-1992: Research Associate – Laser Cutting Systems, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
  • 1989 – 1990: Graduate Engineer, Lucas Diesel Systems, London & Gloucester

Teaching activity 

As of session 2009-10 I am the course director for the Mechanical Engineering family of Undergraduate degrees.
My main teaching interests are in design and smart systems technology.
I am module leader for :

ME2*** : Smart Systems Design
ME2036 : Ergonomics
ME2045 : Solid Mechanics
ME3*** : Advanced Systems Design

Research interests

I have a strong interest in biomedical engineering. In particular I am very keen to examine human factors and safety issues within healthcare technology.

Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to :

  • Design for infection control
  • Infection treatment
  • Surgical safety - reducing risks in surgical procedures through new technology and testing methods.
  • Interactions within healthcare systems
  • Interface design
  • Medical product ergonomics
  • Smart systems design
I am also actively involved with ARCHA (Aston Research Centre in Health Ageing). I am a member of the research strand: 'Technologies supporting healthy ageing'.

I am always very keen to hear from possible PhD students interested in doing research in these areas. Please feel free to discuss possible projects.

Recent research funding

EPSRC : Suture safety and integrity equipment (EP/D003040/1)
KTP : Safety related issues in the design of offshore pumping units (KTP 348)
Photo-activated disinfection : Scottish Optoelectronics Forum (TTOM initiative)

PhD Supervision

Richard Rothwell : Stent design for the prevention of gastrointestinal leakage

Membership of Professional Bodies

Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Selected publications 

Recent Journal Papers :


An investigation into the impact of safety features on the ergonomics of surgical scalpels, X Wu, G A Thomson, B Tang, Applied Ergonomics, 40(3), 2009, pp.424-432



An investigation of leakage tracts along stressed suture lines in phantom tissue, G A Thomson, Medical Engineering & Physics, 29, (9), November 2007, Pages 1030-1034 


Recent Conference Papers :



Stent design for gastrointestinal leakage, R A Rothwell, G A. Thomson M S Pridham,  Proc. EMBEC 2008, Antwerp, Belgium, Nov 2008, pp. 2169-2172



Soluble Gas Tight Capsules for use in Determining Surgical Leakage, J B Vorstius, G A Thomson and A P Slade, Proc. EMBEC 2008, Antwerp, Belgium, Nov 2008, pp.895-898


Optimization of Ultrasonic Tool Performance in Surgery, 
Y Qiu, Z Huang, A Slade and G Thomson, Proc. EMBEC 2008, Antwerp, Belgium, Nov 2008, pp. 899-902,



Contemporary Scientific and Design Analysis Applied to Traditional Surgical Instruments, Gareth Thomson, Xuefang Wu, BioMed 2008, Innsbruck, Austria Feb 2008, pp.277-282, isbn 978-0-88986-721-5


Integrity of Colorectal Anastomosis: A Review of Technological Assets, Victor Fernandez, Gareth Thomson, Alan Slade,  BioMed 2008, Innsbruck, Austria Feb 2008, pp.283-287, isbn 978-0-88986-721-5

Addressing noise control problems within offshore well service equipment from the perspective of an SME. , Michael O‘Sullivan, Gareth Thomson, Inter-Noise 2006, 3-6 December 2006, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research