Leigh Thredgold

Dr Leigh Thredgold

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of Public Health

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Leigh Thredgold is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Public Health’s Environmental and Occupational Health Unit. Working out of the Adelaide Exposure Science and Health Laboratory his expertise lie in the development of new analytical instruments, techniques and methodology for the identification of chemical analytes and applying them to solve varying scientific problems. His applied research has a strong focus on collaboration and is designed to meet the challenges and achieve practical solutions to issues identified by industry partners.

Adelaide Exposure Science and Health Research Group

Dr Thredgold's current research leverages his background in analytical chemistry to explore the pathways and impacts of environmental and occupational hazards on human health and society, and leads to the development of effective interventions to control and prevent exposure to hazards. In particular, with Dr Gaskin, he investigates the science of dermal exposure to toxic chemicals using in-vitro human skin models which is translated into practical outcomes and decision making software tools for collaborators and other industries. This collaborative research is industry focussed with wide applicability across the defence, emergency services, HAZMAT and public health sectors.

Research Project 1

Title:   Firefighter chemical exposures and cancer risk assessments.

Project Description: Firefighters are exposed to smoke and ash during training and emergency firefighting activities that contains chemical combustion products including toxic gases, particles and metals. Skin exposure occurs by way of smoke and gas infiltration through the hood, jacket, trousers and at interface regions of firefighter turnout gear or through cross transfer of contaminants from gear to skin. Of particular concern is the skin around the jaw, neck and crotch as these are areas where gear is most susceptible to penetration. Little is known about the subsequent effect of high temperatures on this dermal exposure process. This is a potential risk to firefighters as they are consistently exposed to these chemicals under high temperature conditions and for potentially lengthy periods of time.

This project will explore the skin exposure science of firefighters in order to understand health risks from skin exposure to toxic substances during firefighting activities. It will involve a mixture of laboratory and field based experimentation to determine the dermal uptake of known human carcinogens in smoke and ash under various conditions. The data generated will then be used to estimate cancer risk and inform recommendations around reducing future risk amongst this occupation.

Project available for: Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 2

Title:   Are there reproductive health effects from toxic chemical exposure through the skin? A review of the evidence for the flower industry.

Project Description: Students will participate in a number of practical activities relevant to occupational and environmental skin absorption of toxic chemicals. Lab work will involve hands on scenario-based scientific measurements of a range of industry relevant chemical exposures. Research papers and current research projects will be used to frame the learning. Scenarios and topics will be drawn from research in healthcare, defence, mining, agriculture and manufacturing industries. Students may have the opportunity to participate in field work or visits to relevant government agencies.

Project available for: Third Year / Honours

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 3

Title:   Understanding genotoxicity risks from reactive crystalline silica particles and associated resins in engineered stone fabrication.

Project Description: Inhalation of quartz-containing dust may lead to serious and irreversible lung diseases including cancer. Unfortunately, early detection of lung cancer is not feasible, and the pathology may only be evident some years after exposure. Thus, the key to prevention of lung disease is rigorous dust monitoring and control.

However, there are significant limitations to existing dust monitoring approaches, for example, it does not differentiate between freshly crushed and aged quartz dust. Freshly fractured crystalline silica is more toxic, and there is likely to be an under-estimation of the risk for workers undertaking particular tasks.

In order to gauge the potential risk underestimation and to target interventions, the proposed study seeks to better characterise silica genotoxicity for engineered stone fabrication processes through laboratory experimental studies. The ability of engineered stone dusts to cause changes to genetic material would be assessed via an 8-hydroxy deoxyguanosine assay. This assay has been previously applied to various forms of dust, including quartz, and is now considered a standard toxicological approach.

The results would help identify previously unrecognised situations of higher risk, particularly as they relate to freshly crushed/fractured quartz, and to identify where more stringent dust control measures are warranted.

Project available for: Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 4

Title:   Evaluating risk factors for occupational disease arising from dermal exposure to organophosphorus pesticides during agricultural use.

Project Description: Organophosphorus pesticides (OPs) are commonly used in the agricultural industry for the control of a wide variety of pests. The primary mode of action is acetylcholinesterase inhibition which causes over stimulation and subsequent prevention of nerve transmission. Whilst this makes OPs extremely effective against insects and other pests it also results in them being highly toxic for human health. There are a number of scientific papers that report on the toxicity of OPs. The primary route of exposure is via inhalation, however significantly less is known about the consequences of other potential exposure routes i.e. dermal exposure during the mixing and spraying of these pesticides in agricultural settings and the resultant risks for occupational disease. This project investigates the ability for selected OPs to penetrate human skin using donated human skin and an in vitro methodology. The data produced is able to be used to determine if dermal exposure to the OPs presents a significant risk for occupational diseases.

 Project available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 5

Title:   Do co-ingredients in agrichemicals lead to increased skin absorption in exposed workers?

Project Description: The Adelaide Exposure Science and Health Laboratory currently runs a range of research projects around the science of skin exposure to various harmful chemicals. One existing program of work is investigating the exposure risk to agricultural workers arising from direct skin contact with various pesticides. Many of these pesticides are sold commercially as formulated products with a wide range of additional co-solvent ingredients. As such we are interested in exploring the potential effects of these co-solvents on skin permeation outcomes.

This will be a laboratory based project that will utilise a model pesticide and a number of different co-solvents to determine their overall effect on penetration through human skin. The student will utilise an in vitro system and donated human epidermis to perform a range of time based experiments with sample analysis using liquid chromatography. The data obtained will be plotted to compare the amount of pesticide able to penetrate human skin over the exposure timeframe when mixed with each co-solvent. The outcomes of this study will have direct benefit for agricultural workers and chemical manufacturers by providing information around potential exposure risk and additional safety recommendations in relation to skin protection based on product co-ingredients.

Project available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 6

Title:   Emergency management of chemical exposure incidents affecting public health.

Project Description: Accidental or intentional toxic chemical releases may result in significant public health and psychological consequences. Management of exposed individuals during hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents should be risk-based and supported by suitable scientific evidence base. The most serious hazard is from exposure to gases or vapours via the respiratory system. Dermal exposure, as an important secondary route of exposure, is still a concern most acutely for the unprotected public. This project is aligned with a program of work and involves selected literature reviews, the identification of knowledge gaps and the recommendation of a framework, protocols and experimental work for a selected range of toxic chemicals that may be encountered in a HAZMAT scenario involving the public.

Project available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR / Masters

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 7

Title:   Development of an analytical technique for MOCA in biological samples.

Project Description: The chemical 4,4’-Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline) (MOCA) is used in manufacturing of polyurethane products. MOCA is classified as an A2, Suspected Human Carcinogen and has the potential to be absorbed through the skin. Health monitoring of workers for MOCA is required under work health and safety laws. This project is laboratory based and will involve development of an analytical method for the detection of MOCA in biological samples.  Occupational exposure to MOCA in industry is ideally assessed by biological monitoring to identify individuals with an absorbed dose.

Project available for: Honours / HDR / Masters

Location: AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 8

Title:   Indoor air pollution from 3D printers.

Project Description: 3D printers are becoming ubiquitous in schools, universities and industry (additive manufacturing). These printers are cost-effective for rapid and specialised fabrication. There is a wide variety of applications ranging from synthetic skin, medical implants and devices, architectural prototypes etc. Many different 3D systems exist and potentially emit toxic particles and vapours, especially in large scale or open printers. There is a need to understand the indoor air contaminant levels, especially in terms of time and space. The research findings will assist in the evaluation and design of ventilation systems and other forms of control. The project will entail a literature review and measurements in 3D printing labs in the University, and potentially in secondary schools.

Project available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


Research Project 9

Title:   Bioaerosols in the indoor environment: Understanding and managing occupational health risks.

Project Description: The majority of people spend most of their working time in office environments. The assessment of indoor work environments is important because it potentially involves a range of hazards such as chemicals, lighting, and indoor air quality issues. Bioaerosol contamination (such as fungi and moulds) of the indoor working environment is an increasingly common occupational health concern, yet there are limited published studies investigating typical office environments in Australia. This paucity of survey information limits the comparisons that can be made against measurements taken in workplaces that have indoor bioaerosol air quality issues. Exposure to airborne bioaerosols has the potential to exacerbate asthma, act as irritants and allergens and infrequently cause disease in susceptible individuals.

This project is part of a program of work exploring the working indoor environment and bioaerosol characterisation (identification and enumeration) and control (effectiveness of anti-microbial agents). It involves range of research approaches including field measurement, laboratory experimentation and engagement with regulatory bodies in the field of occupational health.

Project available for: Third Year / Honours / HDR / Masters / MPhil

Location: AHMS, AESH Lab (Thebarton)

Research project start: Semester 1 and 2


For details on projects available please view the following booklet: School of Public Health Student Projects


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2015 - 2017 Postdoctoral Research Associate Flinders University, Adelaide
    2015 - 2015 Research Assistant Flinders University, Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Award School of Public Health Publication Funding Scheme University of Adelaide Australia $2000
    2018 Award Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Research Travel Award University of Adelaide Australia $3,000
    2018 Award Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Research Infrastructure Funding Award University of Adelaide Australia $9,686
    2013 Award Research Student Conference Travel Grant Flinders University Australia $2,700
    2012 Research Award Australian National Fabrication Facility SA Node Start-up Award Australian National Fabrication Facility Australia $2,500
    2011 Scholarship Flinders University Research Scholarship Flinders University Australia $25,000pa
    2010 Scholarship Playford Memorial Trust Honours Research Scholarship Playford Memorial Trust Australia $3,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2011 - 2015 Flinders University, Adelaide Australia PhD
    2010 - 2010 Flinders University, Adelaide Australia BSc (Hons)
    2007 - 2009 Flinders University, Adelaide Australia BTech (Forensic and Analytical Chemistry)
  • Research Interests

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Tefera, Y., Thredgold, L., Pisaniello, D., & Gaskin, S. (2019). The greenhouse work environment: a modifier of occupational pesticide exposure?. Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes, 54(10), 817-831.
    2019 Ween, M., Hamon, R., Macowan, M., Thredgold, L., Reynolds, P., & Hodge, S. (2019). Effects of E-cigarette E-liquid components on bronchial epithelial cells: Demonstration of dysfunctional efferocytosis. Respirology.
    2019 Gaskin, S., Thredgold, L., Pisaniello, D., Logan, M., & Baxter, C. (2019). Is the skin an important exposure route for workers during cyanogen fumigation?. Pest management science.
    2019 Thredgold, L., Gaskin, S., Heath, L., Pisaniello, D., Logan, M., & Baxter, C. (2019). Understanding skin absorption of common aldehyde vapours from exposure during hazardous material incidents. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 10 pages.
    2018 Thredgold, L., Gaskin, S., Liu, Y., Heath, L., & Pisaniello, D. (2018). Skin Notations for Low-Molecular-Weight Amines: Development of a Testing Protocol with Isopropylamine as an Example. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 62(5), 633-638.
    2018 Gaskin, S., Thredgold, L., Heath, L., Pisaniello, D., Logan, M., & Baxter, C. (2018). Empirical data in support of a skin notation for methyl chloride. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 15(8), 569-572.
    2015 Thredgold, L., Ellis, A., & Lenehan, C. (2015). Direct detection of histamine in fish flesh using microchip electrophoresis with capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection. Analytical Methods, 7(5), 1802-1808.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS6
    2013 Thredgold, L., Khodakov, D., Ellis, A., & Lenehan, C. (2013). On-chip capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection using "injected" metal electrodes. Analyst, 138(15), 4275-4279.
    DOI Scopus20 WoS19 Europe PMC7
    2012 Khodakov, D., Thredgold, L., Lenehan, C., Andersson, G., Kobus, H., & Ellis, A. (2012). DNA capture-probe based separation of double-stranded polymerase chain reaction amplification products in poly(dimethylsiloxane) microfluidic channels. Biomicrofluidics, 6(2), 026503-1-026503-11.
    DOI Scopus6 WoS6 Europe PMC4
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2013 Thredgold, L., Khodakov, D., Ellis, A., & Lenehan, C. (2013). Optimization of physical parameters of 'injected' metal electrodes for capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection on poly(dimethylsiloxane) microchips. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering Volume 8923 Micro/Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems Vol. 8923 (pp. 1-9). Online: SPIE.
    2011 Khodakov, D., Thredgold, L., Lenehan, C., Andersson, G., Kobus, H., & Ellis, A. (2011). Surface modification of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) microchannels with DNA capture-probes for potential use in microfluidic DNA analysis systems. In Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering Vol. 8204 (pp. 1-9). Victoria: SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING.
    DOI Scopus1
    2011 Prior, C., Lenehan, C., Turner, A., & Thredgold, L. (2011). Development of Efficient Methodologies for Extraction of Stabilisers from Gun Propellants. In PARARI 2011 Symposium Proceedings. Munitions Safety and Emerging Systems.. Melbourne: Thales Australia.
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2018 Thredgold, L., Gaskin, S., Pisaniello, D., Logan, M., & Baxter, C. (2018). The development and application of a scenario–based test protocol for dermal exposure assessment in HAZMAT incidents. Poster session presented at the meeting of X2018 9th International Conference on the Science of Exposure Assessment. Manchester, UK.
    2016 Thredgold, L., & Lewis, D. (2016). Innovative Wastewater Treatment Strategies for Remote Locations. Poster session presented at the meeting of RACI Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Division Symposium. Adelaide, Australia.
    2013 Thredgold, L., Khodakov, D., Ellis, A., & Lenehan, C. (2013). Novel on-chip capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection using injected metal electrodes. Poster session presented at the meeting of The Great Scientific Exchange (SCIEX2013). Milwaukee, USA.
Date Project Investigators Collaborators Funding Body Amount
2019 - 2021 Risk-based Decision-making for Skin Decontamination for CBR Incidents – Phase 4.

Sharyn Gaskin, Leigh Thredgold

UoA, Qld Fire & Emergency Service, DSTG Australian Government (Defence) MOU with the US Government concerning Combating Terrorism Research and Development Grant $714,400

2019 - 2020

Increasing the understanding of skin absorption of chemicals in hot environments: establishing an evidence base for existing firefighting work practices Leigh Thredgold (CI-A), Sharyn Gaskin, Scott Hanson-Easey, Dino Pisaniello UoA, SAMFS, CFS, SES & QFES Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Tactical Research Fund $52,187


  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Member 2020 AIOH Conference Organising Committee Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Australia
    2014 - 2014 Treasurer Research and Development Topics Conference Royal Australian Chemical Institute Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2019 - ongoing Member Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member Royal Australian Chemical Institute Australia
  • Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83134957
  • Email: leigh.thredgold@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: Thebarton
  • Building: QEH - Laboratory
  • Org Unit: Public Health

Connect With Me
External Profiles