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The science of toxicology is increasingly important because of the growing levels of pollution in the environment, which very seriously affects human health. Toxicology focuses on both toxicants (i.e., toxic chemicals) and natural toxins produced by living organisms. It includes descriptive research (i.e., on toxicity symptoms), mechanistic research (molecular mechanisms of action) and therapeutic research.

Several of the pharmacology faculty do research in mechanistic toxicology. Toxicants under study include pesticides, which are necessary for food production and protection from insect-borne diseases. Pesticides are intended to be relatively safe for humans but may create serious health problems. Faculty also investigate carcinogens and naturally occurring neurotoxins and their mechanisms of action. Data from toxicological research provide the basis for regulations of pesticide use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Our faculty seek to provide trainees in toxicology with state-of-the-art education and mechanistic research experience to prepare them for research careers in this intriguing field.

Toxicology faculty within the Department of Pharmacology are: