School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Medical and Health Sciences
Associate Professor Daniel Cozzolino, Dr Aoife Power, Associate Professor Alex Forrest, Professor Marc Tennant
Doctor of Philosophy

Research Details

Thesis Name

Vibrational spectroscopic characterisation of human teeth and its potential use in the geographic profiling of individuals within a contemporary Australian population

Thesis Abstract

Vibrational spectroscopic (VS) techniques can geographically profile plants (Cozzolino 2014) and it has been used successfully during the process of taxonomy in wildlife and biodiversity research (Vance et al. 2016), but no studies on the application of VS in the geographic profiling of human subjects have been conducted. Australia is the ideal country in which to conduct this research, not only because the country consists of varied biogeographic regions (Australian Government 2015), but also because its inhabitants are from diverse geographic locations, with nearly half of Australians either born overseas or have parents who were born overseas (Australian Bureau of statistics [ABS] 2017). This study aims to investigate the use of spectroscopic techniques such as vibrational spectroscopy to form dental 'fingerprints' from teeth donated by people from different geographic regions from which geographic profiling information can potentially be generated by building datasets based on structural information of mineralised dental tissues.

Why my research is important/Impacts

Analysing the teeth of participants from diverse geographic locations across Australia would facilitate the mapping of differences in chemical composition between tooth samples. If it becomes evident that the differences are area specific, this could facilitate the formation of dental 'fingerprinting' for those locations which could be used to: • potentially identify issues pertaining to dental health that are more prevalent in particular geographic regions; • present data as scientific evidence to initiate policy changes around issues such as water fluoridation and water purification; and • allude to the origin of teeth based on their chemical composition.


CQUniversity-Funded Stipend Scholarship


Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service