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General Information

Brief History

An NIEHS T32-supported training program in Environmental Toxicology has been in existence at UTMB for over 20 years. Originally founded in 1990 by Lemone Yielding, and sustained by Mary Treinen-Moslen since 1994, this program is now directed by Bill T. Ameredes, with Dr. Treinen-Moslen's retirement in 2009.

Why Study Toxicology?

The 20th Century has witnessed unprecedented industrialization, explosive population growth, and a massive introduction of new chemical agents into the environment. Unfortunately, we lag far behind in our understanding of the impact that many of these new chemicals, particularly mixtures, have on the health of humans and other members of our ecosystem.

What is a Toxicologist?

A toxicologist is a scientist who investigates the risks to human health and the environment from chemicals and physical agents. Toxicology is a highly interdisciplinary scientific field that uses knowledge and research methods drawn from virtually all areas of the biomedical sciences. Toxicologists work in a variety of different ways that range from fundamental research investigations to the protection of public health. Some of these areas include:

  • Laboratory research to understand fundamental biological process and the mechanisms by which toxic agents adversely affect them
  • Research to characterize the toxic effects of specific chemicals such as medications
  • Research to measure human exposure to toxic agents in the environment and determine the risks from exposure on health
  • Risk assessments to ascertain the need for measures to control human exposures
  • Environmental management to protect the public health.

Toxicologists must be well-rounded scientists who are familiar with the latest concepts and knowledge in the biological sciences as well with statistical methods, environmental assessment, and public health.
As a profession, toxicology offers many different types of career opportunities. If you are an accomplished biological sciences student who is interested in a career that can combine state of the art research with the opportunity to have a significant and immediate impact on public health, then you should consider professional training in toxicology.

Toxicology & Basic Biomedical Sciences Curriculum (BBSC):

Students who are interested in toxicology should apply to graduate school through the Basic Biomedical Sciences Curriculum (BBSC). They will take the interdisciplinary first year BBSC curriculum and then join one of the graduate programs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Several Graduate Programs participate in the toxicology curriculum including:

Areas of Toxicology:

  • Molecular Toxicology
  • Genetic Toxicology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Carcinogenesis
  • DNA Repair
  • Environmental Estrogens
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Inhalation Toxicology

Mission Statement

The goal of the UTMB training program in Environmental Toxicology for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows is to provide young scientists with the knowledge base, technical expertise and professional skills that each will need to advance the state of knowledge concerning the mechanistic basis of injury by environmental agents. This goal is entirely consistent with the stated purpose of NIEHS training programs.

William Ryan Miller 11-2010

W. Ryan Miller, former NIEHS Pre-doctoral Trainee, working in the laboratory of UTMB Toxicology Training Program Faculty Trainer Dr. Kelly Dineley.