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Unit of study_

PCOL3011: Toxicology

We are constantly exposed to chemicals over our lifetime that can harm us and lead to disease and even death. The study of toxicology helps you understand why a chemical or drug can have toxic effects and what your risk is for harm. This understanding is central to drug development and chemical and drug regulation. In this this unit of study you will gain further knowledge in target organ toxicology (lung, liver, CNS), environmental toxicology (such as asbestos and pesticides) and the diverse world of plant and animal toxins. The fundamental mechanisms for toxic reactions in the human body will be explored. As a final consequence of exposure to many toxicants, the biology and causes of cancer are discussed. As part of the unit you will be introduced to methods for the collection and analysis of data from human and animal populations, including clinical trials, forensic problems and epidemiological data. This unit of study is highly recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine and allied health professions (e.g., nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, dentistry) and medical research pathways.

Code PCOL3011
Academic unit Pharmacy
Credit points 6
(PCOL2011 or PCOL2021 or MEDS2002) or (BMED2401 and BMED2405)

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. apply methods and ideas from the syllabus to real world problems in toxicology
  • LO2. contribute to the public debate in relation to safety and efficacy of therapeutic agents and contribute to the public discourse on environmental hazards and carcinogenesis
  • LO3. interpret epidemiological and statistical data from published studies and evaluate risks associated with toxicants (both environmental chemicals and pharmaceuticals)
  • LO4. describe the process of carcinogenesis and will be able to explain how the epidemiology of cancer relates to exposure statistics
  • LO5. interpret study data and decide whether claims made are consistent with the evidence reported in the study
  • LO6. describe the regulatory requirements for establishing the safety of new therapeutic agents and explain the meaning of data arising from such studies
  • LO7. explain how an understanding of natural poisons can contribute to the development of therapeutic agents
  • LO8. use Excel to generate a non-linear model of dose-response data and derive the LD50 value from the model
  • LO9. employ standard epidemiological formulae to assess changes in risk associated with exposure to putative toxicants
  • LO10. discuss the Hill criteria for causality and implement this with respect to the assessment of the effect of toxicant exposure including tobacco and aflatoxins
  • LO11. work in a team on a large project with large datasets and generate a report to form a cap-stone project due at the end of semester
  • LO12. use Prism or other software to perform basic statistical analysis of laboratory data.