Researcher biography

Dr. Charlton was most recently a research assistant/laboratory technician in the Department of Environmental Sciences (formerly the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Sciences), Stockholm University (2018-2020). There, he assisted with the detection of persistent organic pollutants in a wide range of matrices, working primarily with Associate Professor John Benskin and, during an earlier internship, with Professor Anne Sobek.

He obtained his BSc. (First Class Hons.) and doctorate from the Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology, Sydney (2014). His doctoral research centred on workplace drug testing and forensic toxicology, relating to detection of cannabis use in instances of suspected sample tampering. Specifically, he explored the use of chemical adulterants to generate false-negative drug test results, and sought to determine if stable reaction products of chemical adulterants and a key THC metabolite were produced. Through careful testing of a wide range of reagents, he was able to synthesis a small number of novel reaction products that may ultimately be of use in cannabis drug testing. This work was overseen by Professor Shanlin Fu. Having made the professional transition from forensic toxicology to environmental toxicology, his current research interests in the field include detection of an even wider variety of persistent environmental pollutants, and is excited to expand his expertise into the realm of microplastics at QAEHS.

During his doctorate Nathan also was heavily involved in the forensic science school outreach program at UTS. Within this, he successfully delivered a variety of workshops and lectures aimed towards high school students and the general public. This program sought to engage interested parties, and expand their knowledge of forensic chemistry and biology in a broad sense, touching on topics such as crime scene investigation, fire and explosion analysis, fingerprinting, toxicology and forensic anthropology.

He is also interested in and experienced with research in select aspects of applied data science, digital forensics and forensic anthropology, being an active contributor to an ongoing project investigating the online human remains trade (, itself in larger collaboration with the goals of The Alliance to Counter Crime Online (

Outside of research, he is an avid gardener with a special fondness for chili plants, and also enjoys gaming, reading and cooking.

Peer Reviewed Publications

Huffer D and Charlton N in press. A picture worth one thousand words?: Taphonomy as a means to assess age and authenticity in the online trade in Dayak and Asmat modified human remains. Forthcoming in: Imbert, J.-P. (Ed.) The Great Skull Project, University College Dublin Press.

Huffer D and Charlton N 2019. Serious enquiries only, please: Ethical issues raised by the online human remains trade. In: Marquez-Grant, N., Squires, K. (Eds.) Ethical Challenges in the Analysis of Human Remains, Springer Press, pp 95-113.

Huffer D; Chappell C; Charlton N; Spatola B. 2019. Bones of Contention: The Online Trade in Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Anatomical Human Remains on Instagram. In: Chappell C and Huffnagel S (eds.) Palgrave Handbook of Art Crime; Palgrave Macmillan Press, pp 527-557.

Fu S; Luong S; Pham A; Charlton N; Kuzhiumpramabil U. 2014. Bioanalysis of urine samples after manipulation by oxidizing chemicals: technical considerations. Bioanalysis 6: 1543-1561.

Charlton N, Fu S. 2012. Effect of selected oxidising agents on the detection of 11-nor-9-carboxy—9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH) in spiked urine. TIAFT Bulletin 42: 33-36.