Toxicology and Ecotoxicology

Course content

The course gives a basic overview on fundamentals in both human-, eco- and occupational toxicology. Basic toxicological topics encompass toxicodynamic, toxicokinetic description and metabolism of major groups of contaminants. Furthermore the course will give a basic understanding of acute toxic effects on the skin, the respiratory system, genotoxicity, mutagenicity, cell toxicity, organ toxicity, cancer development, reproduction, immunotoxicology and the effects of hormone disrupting compounds. Also teratogenicity, toxicophore description and modeling of dose-response relationships will be among the subjects. Classification of chemicals will shortly be described in the course and further more the use of toxicological data bases to access exposure and effect data will be discussed. The course will also discuss in detail how to quantify a dose or an exposure of a chemical and be able to predict most important exposure routes or pathways. This will also include models for calculating effects of exposures to multiple compounds with same/similar mode of action. As an important element of the course the background for the fetal origins hypothesis will be addressed, which postulates that chemical exposure of non-acute toxicological effects during the prenatal environment “program” of the fetus is important for later development of diseases in adulthood. In ecotoxicology, the students will be introduced to the major groups of xenobiotica known to affect or potentially affect human health and ecosystem health. Subjects such as acute and chronic effects on different trophic levels in both the soil and aquatic environment, biodegradation of substances, bioaccumulation and effects at ecosystem level will be among the subjects. Occupational toxicology will focus on how to achieve a sound environment during production using chemicals. An overview of the most important diseases due to chemical exposure during occupation will be addressed. The overall aim of this course is to prepare the students to be able to at a later stage to perform simple risk assessments scenarios of human, environmental and occupational heath hazards and to evaluate potential hazards of a given xenobiotic. Lectures, theoretical - and practical laboratory exercises will be the main form of teaching. Lectures are based on textbooks and some scientific papers. The topics of the theoretical exercises run in parallel with the topics treated in the lectures.
During the laboratory work groups of 4 students will work together to respond a laboratory assignment that primarily will include the use on in-vitro human- or ecotoxicological assay’s. The laboratory assignment focuses on selected chemicals and draws on the general insight in chemical, biological and physical processes to be learned and thus is fundamentally important for toxicology. Results are reported as a scientific manuscript and as an oral presentation.

Education

MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences - elective

MSc in Medicinal Chemistry - elective

MSc in Environmental Sciences - compulsory

Learning outcome

The main objectives of the course is to introduce fundamentals and key methods in human-, eco- and occupational toxicology, and to provide an overview of different approaches for determining data that may be applied in risk evaluation of chemical pollutants to humans and the environment. The course consists of a number of lectures and a practical laboratory course of approximately 20 hours. The course is recommended for students who upon completion of their studies will be employed in sectors dealing with environmental issues, such as public inspection, public health, environmental consulting, medical industry and the bioprocessing industries.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:
 

Knowledge

  • Describe toxicological mode of actions for most important groups of chemical substances to humans and environmental species.
  • Define the most vulnerable target organ(s) or organism(s) for most important group of xenobiotics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge on safety toxicology, and extrapolation from animal to human, and from one trophic level in the environment to another
  • Understand the use of physico-chemical parameters of compounds to predict toxicity, bioaccumulation and biomagnification
  • Assess both acute and chronical toxicity data and evaluate different types of dose-response relationships including effects of mixtures of compounds with similar mode of action.
  • Quantify a dose or an exposure of a chemical and be able to predict the most important exposure routes to humans and environment and exposure due to occupation.
  • Suggest how to diminish an exposure of chemical in both human, environmental and occupational toxicology (practical management).

 

Skills

  • Transfer math concepts to solve 1st-order linear differential-integral equations, manipulate log relationships, convert between dimensional systems of units
  • Utilise relevant software for dose-responds relationships and problem solving(e.g. EPI-Win, Chem-Draw, Excel, R).
  • Perform simple in-vitro human toxicological and ecotoxicological laboratory tests and models
  • Report laboratory results as research manuscript

 

Competencies

  • Integrate principles from chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry and ecology with mass and energy balances to develop and solve simple toxicological questions
  • Apply simplified assumptions and estimate model and design parameters in the face of biological variability and uncertainty in measurement and prediction

24 blocks of 4 hours.

  • John Timbrell 'Principles of Biochemical Toxicology', 3rd edition, Taylor & Francis Inc., 2000 (PBT) - new edition september 2009!
  • Steve P Hopkin, Principles of Ecotoxicology, Fourth Edition, Taylor and Francis Inc. 2012
  • Scientific papers and notes will be provided at cost.

The course presumes basic knowledge at university bachelor level of 5 ECTS -credits in human or animal physiology, in biochemistry, in organic chemistry and in inorganic chemistry. Thus a total of minimum 20 ECTS credits. In addition, knowledge of basic environmental chemistry, biology and microbiology will be an advantage.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written examination, 2 timer under invigilation
• 2 hours Multiple choice exam (50%)
• Laboratory work assignments reported as a scientific poster and a scientific written manuscript (50%)
• Multiple choice and assignment are evaluated as 1:1 as final grade
Aid

All written aids allowed

Refer to the IT exams homepage link where the standard programs and IT tools available for the students’ disposal during IT exams under The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are listed.

During the exam students are allowed to bring a molecular model building set.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the grade 12 the student must be able to:
 

Knowledge

  • Describe toxicological mode of actions for most important groups of chemical substances to humans and environmental species.
  • Define the most vulnerable target organ(s) or organism(s) for most important group of xenobiotics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge on safety toxicology, and extrapolation from animal to human, and from one trophic level in the environment to another
  • Understand the use of physico-chemical parameters of compounds to predict toxicity, bioaccumulation and biomagnification
  • Assess both acute and chronical toxicity data and evaluate different types of dose-response relationships including effects of mixtures of compounds with similar mode of action.
  • Quantify a dose or an exposure of a chemical and be able to predict the most important exposure routes to humans and environment and exposure due to occupation.
  • Suggest how to diminish an exposure of chemical in both human, environmental and occupational toxicology (practical management).

 

Skills

  • Transfer math concepts to solve 1st-order linear differential-integral equations, manipulate log relationships, convert between dimensional systems of units
  • Utilise relevant software for dose-responds relationships and problem solving(e.g. EPI-Win, Chem-Draw, Excel, R).
  • Perform simple in-vitro human toxicological and ecotoxicological laboratory tests and models
  • Report laboratory results as research manuscript

 

Competencies

  • Integrate principles from chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry and ecology with mass and energy balances to develop and solve simple toxicological questions
  • Apply simplified assumptions and estimate model and design parameters in the face of biological variability and uncertainty in measurement and prediction
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 62
  • Practical exercises
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 108
  • Colloquia
  • 6
  • Exam
  • 2
  • English
  • 206