Natasha is a Research Fellow in the Natural Toxin group within the QAAFI Centre for Animal Science, based at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct (Cooper's Plains). She an organic chemist with an interest in natural products and is utilising analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, to look at natural toxins found in certain plants, such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids and simplexin.  Current research aims to mitigate the effects of Pimelea plant toxins on cattle. Further collaborative projects involve the analysis of Australian honey and the novel beneficial properties of stingless bee honey.

Researcher biography

Dr Natasha Hungerford is an organic chemist and has extensive experience in natural products chemistry. She is a Research Fellow in the Natural Toxin group within the Centre for Animal Science, Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and is based at the Health and Food Sciences Precinct (Cooper's Plains). She joined QAAFI in 2016 and is utilising analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to evaluate and minimise risks associated with natural toxins found in certain plants. This research focuses on minimising risks to Australian livestock production and to the consumer of certain food products. Work on honey analysing for pyrrolizidine alkaloids, pesticides, herbicides and PAHs, and mineral and trace elements has been conducted in collaboration with Queensland Health. Work on stingless bee honey has extended to analyses of beneficial components. Poisoning of cattle in pastures by Pimelea plant species is a problem in semi-arid regions of Australia and research work funded by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is focussed on minimising the impacts of the Pimelea toxin on Australian cattle production. Dr. Hungerford achieved her PhD in 1998, through the UQ School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research in natural products chemistry and in synthetic organic chemistry, at the University of Oxford, Australian National University, The University of Sydney, Griffith University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.