187.610.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 1st Term | 4 Credit(s)
WF 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Michael Trush
    James Yager
  • Contact Information

    Michael Trush
    Office: E7537
    Tel: 410-955-2973

    James Yager, Ph.D.
    Office: E6527
    Tel: 410-955-3695


  • Welcome Message

    Welcome to Public Health Toxicolgy.  Virtually each day you can read in the paper about the effects of various chemicals in the environment and in the diet on human health. Most of the articles speak of adverse effects observed in recent scientific investigations. However, it is often very difficult to critically evaluate the real potential significance of this information. In this course, you will learn the basic principles that govern how chemicals interact with cells and organisms to cause adverse effects and what the critical determinants are that determine whether or not an adverse effect might occur. This will provide you with new tools to help interpret the barrage of information presented to you in the lay press and should be helpful in your professional activities. We sincerely hope you enjoy this course and find the information useful. We also appreciate your input and suggestions as to how to improve the course, so please be sure to complete the course evaluation and don't hesitate provide us with any constructive comments or suggestions you may have by e-mail or in person. Thank you.

  • Course Description
    Students examine basic concepts of toxicology as they apply to the effects of environmental agents, e.g. chemicals, metals, on public health. We discuss the distribution, cellular penetration, metabolic conversion, and elimination of toxic agents, as well as the fundamental laws governing the interaction of foreign chemicals with biological systems. Students focus on the application of these concepts to the understanding and prevention of morbidity and mortality resulting from environmental exposures to toxic substances through a case study format.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Fot two lectures, Hepato and Renal Toxicology and Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, students are assigned to listen to an on-line module that describes the basic structures, functions and toxic responses of these systems before coming to the lectures which will focus on the case studies.

  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Describe the chemical properties and the biological processes which modulate the toxicokinetics of chemical agents of public health importance.
    • Explain the significance of biotransformation reactions as a determinant of the toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic activities of chemicals
    • Describe molecular, cellular and pathophysiological responses resulting from exposure to chemical agents relevant to human health
    • Identify underlying susceptibility factors which contribute to the ability of chemicals to elicit bioeffects which contribute to human disease
    • Explain the science underlying testing for the ability of chemicals to elicit adverse human health effect
    • Put into perspective the role of toxicology in the risk assessment process
    • Discuss in depth the toxicology of selected organs and agents
  • Intended Audience

    The course is intended for students in professional degree programs who wish to gain a broad understanding of the basic concepts and principles of toxicology. It also serves as an introductory course for those students in academic degree programs who are planning on following a course of more advanced study in the science of toxicology.

  • Course topics

    Basic Principles: Factors that Affect Toxicity

    Toxicokinetics: Absorption, Distribution, Excretion, and Biotransformation

    Applied Toxicology & Case Studies

    Approaches to Primary and Secondary Prevention; Environmental Carcinogenesis, Biomarkers of Exposure and Susceptibility Factors;  Toxicity Testing (Hazard Assessment: Toxicity Testing In Vivo & In Vitro), Dose Response and Risk Assessment; Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Dioxins;  Hepato and Renal Toxicology: Basic Principles and specific examples (e.g. Ethanol, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroform);  Reproductive & Developmental Toxicolog: Basic Principles and specific examples (e.g. Endocrine Disruptors, Thalidomide);  Metal Toxicology: Overview of Metal Toxicology and specific examples (e.g. Mercury, Cadmium); Neurotoxicology;  Immunotoxicology: Basic Principles, Cutaneous & Pulmonary Hypersensitivity;  Bone Marrow Toxicity: Benzene as a Case Study; Air Toxicants: Ozone: A Criteria Air Pollutant; Nanoparticle Toxicology.

  • Methods of Assessment

    Student evaluation is based on weekly on-line quizzes, two individual written assignments and a midterm and final exam.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Grades will be determined as follows: Midterm Exam: 100 points; Final Exam: 100 points; Weekly Quizzes:  72 points (6 quizzes, each worth 12 points); Assignment 1: 30 points; Assignment 2: 50 points

    Total Points Possible: 352

    Final grade: The total number of possible points will be 352. The final grade will be determined based on the number of points achieved by summing the total points on the exams, quizzes and assignments versus the total number of points possible (352) and determining a final grading scale: >90%of total points= A; 89-80%=B; 79-70%=C; 69-60% =D; <59%=F . The final grading scale may be curved at the discretion of the faculty.

  • Prerequisites

    Background in college biochemistry and cell biology strongly encourged.


  • Required Text(s)

     Casarett and Doull’s Essentials of Toxicology, 2nd edition, C.D. Klaassen and J.B. Watkins III, eds. McGraw Hill Medical, NY, 2012. (The 2nd edition is a much improved version of the 2003 1st edition and it will not be adequate for the course. While similar topics are covered, reading assignments will come from the 2010 2nd edition).

    Reference Textbooks that may be helpful for obtaining more detail on various topics covered in lectures (not required):

    Principles and Methods of Toxicology. 5th Edition. A. Wallace Hayes (ed). CRC Press, Boca Ratan, 2008. (Older editions also contain basic information that may be helpful)




  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

    For the lecture schedule go the the General Folder in the On Line Library or clickon the link below.

    Please refer to this file.
  • Course Format

    Course Format:

    Lectures with required readings

    Discussion Sessions

    All lectures are recorded and MP3 files of each lecture will be posted within approximately 48 hrs.

    Two lectures, Hepato and Renal Toxicology and Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology will be in a “hybrid” format. That is students are expected to have listened to on-line lecture modules that introduce structure, function and basic toxicology of these systems PRIOR to attending class. The classes will not cover this information but will instead only focus on case studies.



    Midterm Exam

    Final exam

    Two written assignments

    Students are expected to devote 2 hours outside of class for each hour of class time. 

  • Course Policies

    Course Policies       

    Attendance: Strongly encouraged

    ·       Late submissions/ make-ups: Students must contact Dr. Trush, Dr. Yager or the TA prior to late submission of an assignment or quiz or absence from an exam.

    ·       Use of cell phones/laptops during class: Cell phones must be silenced during the lectures and review sessions. It is discourteous to other students and the instructors to use computers or devises during lectures and review sessions for purposes other than viewing lecture slides and taking notes. Use of any devise is not allowed during exams.

    ·       Modes of communication : This courses uses CoursePlus and it’s Bulletin Board (BBS) for posting questions pertaining to material in lectures and assigned readings. The instructors and TA monitor the BBS daily. Other communication can take place by e-mail or meetings with the instructors or TA arranged by e-mail.

    ·       Preparation for lectures: Students are strongly encouraged to review lecture slides and expected to complete the readings assigned to each lecture before class sessions. Some classes will require students to view an on-line lecture module prior to class.

    ·       Group work guidelines: Students are expected to work individually on all exams and quizzes and in completing assignments 1 and 2. 

    ·       Source guidelines: In completing assignments 1 and 2, it is expected that students will use original literature and on-line sources of information. Clear instructions for citing sources are included in the descriptions of these assignments below.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Turnitin

    We will use Turnitin, which is plagiarism detection software in this course for assignments 1 and 2. As students, you will be given the option to self-check your papers before submitting final versions to the dropbox. This will allow you to assess the originality of your work and insure that you have not omitted needed citations and that your paraphrasing from the original sources is sufficiently different from the original work. It provides a learning experience opportunity. Your access to Turnitin to check your assignments will be available 48hr before the assignment is due. You can submit your paper to Turnitin once/day, so by making Turnitin available 48 hr before the due date, you will have the opportunity of checking your drafts two times. 

    Assignment 1 and 2 papers will be checked for originality by the faculty or TA following their submission to the dropbox as part of the grading process.  As a student, you agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be retained anonymously without identifiers as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting future plagiarism of such papers. Use of the service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the website.

    Go to and set up an account. The class ID is 6870901 and the password is 187610PHTox. Then continue to complete the account creation process.


  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at