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Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program


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Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of external factors (free radicals, chemicals, poisons, or drugs) on living systems. In addition, toxicologists are also interested in the inherent mechanisms that mediate the toxic insults to biological or environmental systems. Well-trained toxicologists are needed in a wide range of jobs, and the long-term career opportunities for these individuals are good. Toxicologists find employment in academic institutions, private industry and government laboratories. Therefore, they are at the often at the center of the development of new therapeutic agents, the testing of their safety and the regulation of their use.

A major goal of the UAMS Graduate Program in Interdisciplinary Toxicology in the College of Medicine is to provide students with the necessary course work and research training that will allow our graduates to make a positive contribution both in research and teaching in years to come. In addition to courses in the basic principles of drug action, general pharmacology and toxicology, all students study the basic sciences of cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, and biometry. Additional specialty courses are offered in molecular foundations of toxicology, systems or organ-based toxicology, clinical toxicology, and experimental toxicology. Since research is an important part of graduate training, students will complete 3 research rotations within the first year of training, at which time they will select their graduate mentor. Most of the formal didactic course work will be completed in the first two years of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Upon completion of the second year of training, students must pass written and oral qualifying examinations in order to enter formal candidacy for the doctoral degree. Subsequently, the student will complete a research project under the supervision of a qualified faculty member. The research project must be defended in both oral and written (dissertation) forms before the granting of the Ph.D. degree.

The Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program Document can be downloaded here.

Federally funded toxicological oriented research programs within our program include the study of metabolism, cytotoxicity, neurotoxicology, hepatotoxicity, and nephrotoxicity. Some specific examples of translational toxicology research areas include: studies designed to examine the mechanisms leading to toxicity of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and alcohol. In addition, the department has numerous faculty whose research programs are focused on elucidating the mechanisms that oxidant production has on diseases including sepsis, renal transplant damage, aging, obesity, and alcohol toxicity.

Federally funded research programs are currently in progress in the areas of oxidative stress, aging, neurotoxicology, mechanisms of cellular injury, and drug toxicities. 

Sample Interdisciplinary Toxicology Curriculum
Fall Year 1
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology
Scientific Communications and Ethics I
Journal Club

Fall Year 2
Molecular Foundations of Toxicology
Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology II 
Scientific Communications and Ethics III
Journal Club

Summer Year 2
Ph.D. Candidacy Exam
Spring Year 1
Principles of Pharmacology and Toxicology
General Physiology
Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology I
Scientific Communications and Ethics II
Journal Club

Spring Year 2
Systems Toxicology
Clinical Toxicology
Scientific Communications and Ethics IV
Journal Club