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187.610.81 Public Health Toxicology

Environmental Health and Engineering
2nd term
4 credits
Academic Year:
2013 - 2014
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Yager, James
Course Instructors:

Introduction to Online Learning; a background in chemistry (particularly organic chemistry) and biology is useful.


Students examine basic concepts of toxicology as they apply to the effects of environmental agents, e.g. chemicals, metals, on public health. We discuss the distribution, cellular penetration, metabolic conversion, and elimination of toxic agents, as well as the fundamental laws governing the interaction of foreign chemicals with biological systems. Students focus on the application of these concepts to the understanding and prevention of morbidity and mortality resulting from environmental exposures to toxic substances through a case study format.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the chemical properties and the biological processes which modulate the toxicokinetics of chemical agents of public health importance.
  2. Explain the significance of biotransformation reactions as a determinant of the toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic activities of chemicals.
  3. Describe molecular, cellular and pathophysiological responses resulting from exposure to chemical agents relevant to human health.
  4. Identify underlying susceptibility factors which contribute to the ability of chemicals to elicit bioeffects which contribute to human disease.
  5. Explain the science underlying testing for the ability of chemicals to elicit adverse human health effects.
  6. Put into perspective the role of toxicology in the risk assessment process.
Methods of Assessment:

Student evaluation is based on weekly on-line quizzes, two individual written assignments and one group written assignment completed using a Wiki, a midterm and final exam.

Instructor Consent:

No consent required