Mark Atherton




  • BSc(Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Aston University, Birmingham.
  • MSc/DIC in Industrial Robotics and Manufacturing Automation from Imperial College, London.
  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering Design from City University, London.
  • Apprenticeship with Rubery Owen, followed by engineering positions with Driver Southall (GEC), Otis Elevator, and Redland Engineering. Plus academic posts at London South Bank University.
  • Chartered Engineer, Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
  • Many projects for industrial organisations, including: Black & Decker, Canon, Celestion, Countax, Jacobson Chemicals, NXT, Siemens, 3D Scanners and W&H Gmbh.

Industrial Activities

Dr Atherton has conducted many projects with industrial organisations, involving rapid product development, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), product improvement and robust design solutions:

  • Dental Drill Noise Reduction was developed using adaptive filtering and active ‘anti-noise’ technologies funded by W&H Gmbh, an Austrian dental drill company. This reduced the unpleasant noise of dental drills and has been developed into an Anti-noise system with potential for further development into vibration control of precision surgical instruments. Enquiries welcome.
  • A project for Countax Ltd investigated the behaviour of grass under tractor cutting conditions using CFD and high-speed video technology, which identified design modifications for improved performance.
  • Worked with Siemens Hearing Instruments to improve the fit and comfort of an innovative new hearing aid.
  • Designed and built a novel webcam housing for Canon UK, which was used to view the construction of London’s Millennium Bridge. Also gained Canon’s sponsorship of a Design Show with the show being viewable by webcam (This was an unusual feature of web pages in 2000!).
  • Supervised a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Jacobson Chemicals Ltd to develop a new rapid prototyping technology and conduct research on Design for Recyclability Principles within a Customer-Based Design Method.
  • Several projects with Accuride Ltd created new product concepts incorporating ball slides.
  • Obtained significant sponsorship from the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Bank and the Morgan Stanley Group as Co-organiser of an industrial seminar (more than 30 small companies) with Touchstone Renard Ltd on ‘implementing ISO9000’. Subsequently three companies paid for a consultancy package to develop their quality systems. Then engaged by TR as Quality Sponsor on projects with the Home Office, White City development and the Countryside Agency.
  • Design optimisation of a piezoelectric bimorph for NXT.
  • Developed a portable water purifying device (“WaterBox”) for disaster relief, in collaboration with past students and aid agencies.


External Profile

International Programme Committees

  • Physiological Fluid Mechanics 2009, Brunel University London, UK
  • 2nd Micro and Nano Flows Conference 2009, Brunel University London
  • Bioengineering 2009, Oxford University
  • Design and Nature 2008, Portugal
  • Design and Nature 2006, The New Forest, UK
  • International Conference on Mechatronics 2003, Loughborough University, UK
  • Design and Nature 2002, Udine, Italy
  • Mechatronics 2002, University of Twente, Netherlands
  • Computer-Based Design EDC 2002, King’s College London
  • Design for Excellence EDC 2000, Brunel University London. 

Invited seminars

  • University of Modena, Italy, Department of Mechanical Engineering, November 2007, April 2010.
  • Bridging The Gap, IoP Conference, Brunel University London, UK, May 2007
  • Chalmers University, Sweden, Department of Engineering, March 2004
  • Modelling in Biomedical Engineering, University of Warwick, September 1999
  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Department of Bioengineering, June 1999


  • Journal of Engineering Optimization (2011-2012)
  • Journal of Medical Engineering and Physics (2010)
  • International Journal of Design and Nature (Editor) (2005-present)
  • Journal of Biomechanics (2010)
  • Journal of Medical Engineering and Physics (2010)
  • Journal of Sound and Vibration (2010)
  • Journal of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics (2009)
  • Journal of Engineering Optimization (2008)
  • IMechE part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine (2007)
  • Journal of Medical Engineering and Physics (2005-2006)
  • IMechE Journal of Control and Systems Engineering (2000)
  • Biorheology (2000) 

Visiting Research Fellow

  • Wessex Institute of Technology (2005-present)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (2004-2009)
  • University of Warwick (2001)

Research area(s)

Main research interest is robust engineering design, particularly in regard to mechanical/mechatronic devices, natural and complex systems. Robust Engineering Design (RED) seeks to reduce the sensitivity of product or process performance to variability in loading, material properties, tolerances, disturbance and other 'noise' characteristics.


Research interests

Pursuit of these interests has involved collaborating with colleagues from other institutions, including:

  • Prof. D.F. Cutler of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew has provided botanical input on an investigation into the biomimetics of palm trees. (2003-present)
  • Dr B.J. Millar of the Dental Institute of King’s, Guy’s, St Thomas’, and Mr K.R.G. Rotter of the Department of Engineering Systems, London South Bank University, investigating the use of digital filtering and anti-noise techniques to reduce the unpleasant noise of dental drills. (2000-present)
  • Prof. H.P. Wynn and Dr M.A. Perry of the Department of Statistics, London School of Economics, and Dr R.A. Bates of Rolls Royce, Derby, on Robust Engineering Design methods applied to piezoelectric actuators. (1995-present)

Research project(s) and grant(s)

Recent projects include: Noise reduction in dental drills using Digital Signal Processing (researcher: Dr Erkan Kaymak) Optimising blocked force frequency response of piezoelectric actuators through multiphysics modelling (researcher: Dr Matthew Oldfield) Modelling blood flows through vascular stents and reducing the effects of Geometric Risk Factors. (researcher: Dr Marco Cavazutti, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy) Palm tree biomimetics (researcher: Andrea Windsor-Collins). Robustness of Complex Systems: mobile communications and language acquisition (researcher: Emil Gegov) Other projects: Thermo-fluid transport phenomena in air-fed pressurised protective suits for the Joint European Torus (PI: Professor Tassos Karayiannis, researcher: Dr Kristof Tesch). Powertrain gear dynamics (PI: Dr Giulio Alfano, researcher: Raul Tharmakulasingam).



  • Engineering design
  • Product innovation and development

Selected Publications

Journal articles

Li, Z. , Atherton, M.  and Harrison, D.   (2014)   'Identifying patent conflicts: TRIZ-Led Patent Mapping'. World Patent Information. doi: 10.1016/j.wpi.2014.07.002 Download publication 

Cavazzuti, M. , Atherton, MA. , Collins, MW.  and Barozzi, GS.   (2011)   'Non-Newtonian and flow pulsatility effects in simulation models of a stented intracranial aneurysm'. PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTION OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS PART H-JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING IN MEDICINE, 225 (H6).  pp. 597 - 609. doi: 10.1177/09544119JEIM894 Download publication 

Cavazzuti, M. , Atherton, M. , Collins, M.  and Barozzi, G.   (2010)   'Beyond the Virtual Intracranial Stenting Challenge 2007: Non-Newtonian and flow pulsatility effects'. Journal of Biomechanics, 43 (13).  pp. 2645 - 2647. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2010.04.042 Download publication 

Oldfield, MJ. , Atherton, MA. , Bates, RA. , Perry, MA.  and Wynn, HP.   (2010)   'Modal validation of a cantilever-plate bimorph actuator illustrating sensitivity to 3D characterisation'. Journal of Electroceramics, 25 (1).  pp. 45 - 55. doi: 10.1007/s10832-009-9587-6 Download publication 

Tesch, K. , Atherton, MA. , Karayiannis, TG. , Collins, MW.  and Edwards, P.   (2009)   'Determining heat transfer coefficients using evolutionary algorithms'. Journal of Engineering Optimisation, 41 (9).  pp. 855 - 870. doi: 10.1080/03052150903074239 Download publication 

Perry, MA. , Atherton, MA. , Bates, RA.  and Wynn, HP.   (2008)   'Bond graph based sensitivity and uncertainty analysis modelling for micro-scale multiphysics robust engineering design'. Journal of the Franklin Institute, 345 (3).  pp. 282 - 292. doi: 10.1016/j.jfranklin.2007.10.002 Download publication 

Perry, M. , Bates, RA. , Wynn, HP.  and Atherton, MA.   (2008)   'A finite element based formulation for sensitivity studies of piezoelectric systems'. Smart Materials and Structures, 17 (1).  doi: 10.1088/0964-1726/17/01/015015 Download publication 

Atherton, MA.  and Bates, RA.   (2004)   'Robust optimization of cardiovascular stents: A comparison of methods'. Engineering Optimization, 36 (2).  pp. 207 - 217. doi: 10.1080/03052150310001639290 Download publication 

Atherton, MA. , Doorly, DJ. , Collins, MW.  and Sigwart, U.   (2000)   'A new approach to planning in vitro and in vivo experiments for cardiovascular stents. (2) Planning of experiments'. Internal Medicine : Clinical and Laboratory, 8 (2).  pp. 31 - 35. Download publication 

Atherton, MA.  and Bates, RA.   (2000)   'Bond graph analysis in robust engineering design'. Quality and Reliability Engineering International, 16 (4).  pp. 325 - 335. doi: 10.1002/1099-1638(200007/08)16:4<325::AID-QRE435>3.0.CO;2-K Download publication 


Atherton, MA. , Collins, MW.  and Dayer, MJ.   (2008) Repair and redesign of physiological systems. Southampton, UK:  WIT Press 

Book chapters

Atherton, MA.  and Bates, RA.  (2006)   'Searching for improvement', in Bryant, JA. , Atherton, MA.  and Collins, MW. (eds.) Design and Information in Biology: From Molecules to Systems.  pp. 345 - 379. Download publication 

Atherton, M.  and Bates, R.  (2004)   'Robustness and complexity', in Collins, MW. , Atherton, MA.  and Bryant, JA. (eds.) Nature and Design.  pp. 63 - 83. 

Conference papers

Atherton, M.   (2016)   'A front-end lumped-parameter approach to planning physical Robust Engineering Design experiments on manufactured dynamic devices' , 4th International Conference on the Interface between Statistics and Engineering. Palermo, Italy. [unpublished].  Download publication 

Almurshedi, A. , Atherton, M. , Mares, C.  and Stolarski.   (2015)   'Plate Vibration Characteristics for Squeeze Film Levitation' , 24th Mission of Tribology. IMechE, London. [unpublished].  Download publication 

Almurshedi, A. , Atherton, M. , Mares, C. , Stolarski, T.  and Wei, B.   (2015)   'Squeeze-film levitation characteristics of plates excited by piezoelectric actuators' , 10th International Conference on Advances in Experimental Mechanics. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. 1 - 3 November. [unpublished].  Download publication 

Almurshedi, A. , Atherton, M. , Mares, C. , Stolarski, T. , et al.   (2015)   'Plate actuator vibration modes for levitation' , International Tribology Conference. Tokyo, Japan. 20 - 20 September. [unpublished].  Download publication 

Atherton, MA. , Collins, MW.  and Dodds, SR.   (2003)   'A design approach to spiral artery haemodynamics: Distribution of wall shear and relevance to atherogenesis' , BioFluids Symposium. Pasadena, California. 12 - 14 December. [unpublished].  

Kennedy, IM. , Thomson, E. , Atherton, MA.  and Rotter, KRG.   (1994)   'The use of 3D scanning and surface matching to locate patients undergoing radiotheraphy planning and treatment' , IEE Colloquium on 3D Imaging and Analysis of Depth/Range Images. London , UK. 1 IEEE, pp. 11/1 - 11/8. 

Atherton, MA. , Giovagnoli, A.  and Wynn, HP.   (1994)   'Using the physics to help design experiments' , IMS Spring Research Conference. USA. 

Page last updated: Wednesday 25 November 2015