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MS (Tenn), PhD DipEd (Otago) CText FTI HonFTI

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Office hours: by arrangement


Google Scholar: Raechel M Laing


Laing's expertise lies in the structure, performance, and functionalising of fibres, fabrics, and finished products, especially interactions these have with the human body. Her research and supervision of postgraduate students is centred in this general field: her expertise continues to be externally-focussed, to employers, government agencies, manufacturers, and other research and industry groups.

Laing directed the Clothing and Textiles Centre, University of Otago, a Centre established to assist with scientific and technical investigations for industry and the wider community. She is the University of Otago's principal contact for the NZ Product Accelerator.

Research expertise

Laing has two areas of expertise:

Material sciences

Manufacturing/process technologies/sciences in which the textile/material is considered as a two-dimensional structure. Research focuses on the relationships between raw materials (fibres, skins), yarn, and fabric structures, and properties and performance of end products (e.g. effects of varying specialty protein fibres on fabric structure and properties; functionalised yarns and fabrics).

Clothing and materials in human health and performance

Research focuses on how the textile/product elements can be engineered to enhance human health, protection and/or human physiological behaviour (e.g. textiles and skin health, physiological effects of compression garments; properties and performance of clothing systems in preventing injury or minimising its severity (workplaces, sport)).

Externally-funded research and research collaboration includes investigation of:

  • Masking for the New Zealand health systems (with NZ Health Partnerships/NZ Ministry of Health)
  • Functionalising yarns, fabrics and products (with AgResearch)
  • Wool in human health and safety (with IWTO, Belgium; and AWI, Australia)
  • Heat and moisture transport (in lofty non-woven bedding, with CSIRO, Australia) in wool knit structures (with NZCU College of Textiles, USA)
  • Foot coverings and foot skin health (with WIRL)
    Wool knocks your socks off – Otago Daily Times
  • Odour, volatile compounds and fibres/textiles (with University of Alberta, Canada; with F&P Appliances, New Zealand)


Teaching topics spanned:

  • Structure, physical and performance properties of fibres, textiles, and fibrous products
  • Clothing, textiles, and human health, performance and safety
  • Research methods in fibres/textiles/products
  • International and national perspectives influencing fibres and textiles

Postgraduate supervision

Theses supervised included those required for doctoral and masters' degrees, and for the postgraduate diploma (not all listed).


  • Abdolmaleki, Sahar, Skin hydration under wet fabrics (2022)
    Supervisors: C A Wilson, R M Laing – formally recognised by the Division of Sciences as thesis of exceptional quality
  • Wilson, S A, Apparel fabrics as sensors (2021)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, Tan Eng (Chemistry), C A Wilson
  • Kankariya Nimesh, Textiles and compression of the lower limb (2021)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson – formally recognised by the Division of Sciences as thesis of exceptional quality
  • Islam, M T, Three-dimensional electrospun nanofibrous scaffolds (3DENS) constructs for skin tissue engineering and wound dressing (2019)
    Supervisors: A Ali, M McConnell (Microbiology), C A Wilson, R M Laing
  • Gangadharan, K P, Smart textiles for elderly care (2018)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, A Ali, and C A Wilson
  • Ruznan, W S, Textiles and health of the lower limb (2017)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson, and B J Lowe
  • Smith, C A, Pre-European Māori textiles from South Island New Zealand (2014)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, R Walter (Anthropology) – formally recognised the Division of Sciences as a thesis of exceptional quality
  • Van Amber, R, Sock materials and their interactions with the foot (2013)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson, B Lowe and S Collie
  • Yusof, N, Effect of seam type on seam tensile behaviour under multi-axial forces (2013)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and D Carr
  • McQueen, R H, Axillary odour in apparel textiles (2007)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and C A Wilson – formally recognised by the Division of Sciences as a thesis of exceptional quality


  • Nicholl, B G, Removal of odorous compounds and microorganisms in domestic front-loader washing machines (2022)
    Supervisors: M Jones (Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Auckland) and R M Laing
  • Swart, Jano, Fibrous structures for absorption of low-level impact energy (2020)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and S Collie (AgResearch)
  • Morris, H V, Nurturing and crafting new bone – a woven work of fibre and orthopaedic science (2017)
    Supervisor: R M Laing
  • Palmer, G, Efficacy of a silver treated textile for prevention of microbial activity (2016)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson and P Bremer (Food Science)
  • Mulligan, J E, Textiles in occupational health and safety: uniforms of NZ police (2014)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and C A Wilson
  • Nicholls, C J, Behaviour of seam structures in cervine leather (2013)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and B G Lowe
  • Bennett, I, Drug delivery to the pretibial region using textiles (2013)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson, C Strachan (Pharmacy)
  • Wells, S, Transdermal drug delivery using fabrics (2013)
    Supervisors: R M Laing, C A Wilson, C Strachan (Pharmacy)
  • Dann, T J, Tearing behaviour and effect of laundering on knicker fabric (2011)
    Supervisors: D J Carr, R M Laing, and J Kieser (Health Sciences)
  • Daroux, F Y, Impact damage and degradation of apparel fabrics (2009)
    Supervisors: D J Carr, R M Laing, and J Kieser (Health Sciences)
  • MacRae, B A, Sporting compression garments: physical properties and physiological effects during endurance exercise (2009)
    Supervisors: R M Laing and J Cotter (Physical Education)

Current memberships

  • Editorial Board (editor), The Journal of The Textile Institute;
  • International Council, The Textile Institute; Chair TINZ
  • The Textile Institute (Chartered textile technologist and Honorary fellow)
  • The Royal Society (NZ)
  • AS/NZS committees SF-049, SF-050


McQueen, R. H., Eyres, G. T., & Laing, R. M. (2024). Textile sorption and release of odorous volatile organic compounds from a synthetic sweat solution. Textile Research Journal. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/00405175241249462 Journal - Research Article

Richter, T. M., Laing, R. M., & Bremer, P. J. (2021). Binding and release of odor compounds from textiles: Changing fiber selection for apparel. Textile Research Journal, 91(7-8), 709-716. doi: 10.1177/0040517520957397 Journal - Research Article

Islam, M. T., Al Sharmin, A., Laing, R., McConnell, M., & Ali, M. A. (2024). Bead-free electrospun nanofibrous scaffold made of PVOH/keratin/chitosan using a Box-Behnken experimental design and in vitro studies. Polysaccharides, 5, 112-128. doi: 10.3390/polysaccharides5020009 Journal - Research Article

Islam, M. T., Laing, R. M., Wilson, C. A., McConnell, M., & Ali, M. A. (2022). Fabrication and characterization of 3-dimensional electrospun poly(vinyl alcohol)/keratin/chitosan nanofibrous scaffold. Carbohydrate Polymers, 275, 118682. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.118682 Journal - Research Article

Lowrey, S., Dupas, J., & Laing, R. M. (2021). Performance of a heat-and-vent electric dryer for textiles in household conditions: A New Zealand case study. Energy Efficiency, 14, 63. doi: 10.1007/s12053-021-09955-y Journal - Research Article

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