Ph.D. Program in Molecular Toxicology (MolTox)
This program is designed to provide students with rigorous training in Molecular Toxicology. It is interdisciplinary, having faculty members from various departments across campus (NST, Public Health, Integrative Biology, Plant & Microbial Biology, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, etc.). MT practices a Direct Admissions Process which means there are no lab rotations. Once the Admission Committee agrees that you are a good candidate for the program, the faculty can accept you into their lab directly. We will guide you through the process.
Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms and how these effects are modulated by genetic, physiologic and environmental factors. Understanding the basis for the adverse effects of substances often results in discoveries of new biologic mechanisms and the eventual use of the toxic agent for positive purposes. Toxic chemicals are produced and released naturally in the form of fungal, algal and plant products that can contaminate the food and water supplies. They are also created as a result of human activities both intentionally in the form of pesticides required for increased crop production, and unintentionally as environmental contaminants produced during combustion of petroleum products in automobiles.
New molecular technologies have revolutionized the field of Toxicology. They have made it possible to safely study the effects of toxic substances and toxic modulators in people instead of experimental animals; to use transgenic animals to speed up safety assessment and answer key basic research questions; and, have led to the rapid development of economical and highly informative short-term toxicity testing systems in cultured cells and microorganisms. Increasing knowledge of the human genome allows for the identification of susceptible individuals and better understanding of gene-environment interactions.
The demand for trained scientists to determine the present risk to human health and the environment presented by toxics is increasing. UC Berkeley has many faculty research programs in the area of toxicology. The Molecular Toxicology Graduate Group at UC Berkeley has been established to provide a significant service by performing research; providing education and training on biological, biochemical and genetic aspects of the field; and by producing graduates who will meet the growing societal needs in toxicology resulting from the development of modern technology.