Everyday our bodies are exposed to a staggering number of chemicals, some are toxic while others are advantageous. In this course, using well-known toxicants, such as asbestos, lead and BPA among others, we will introduce research that explores the mechanisms of toxicity. This course provides practical approaches for researching toxicology through a discussion of recent scientific techniques and 2D and 3D modeling at both molecular and organ system levels. In the second half of the course, students will apply their knowledge to critically assess the mechanisms of toxicity and varied pharmacological approaches. Integrated applied labs will introduce students to cutting-edge techniques including cell culture, in vitro modeling, confocal imaging, and image analysis. These techniques are used by toxicologists and pharmacologists to create models of toxicity that enable them to answer pressing scientific questions.
Important key concepts in this course include:
1. Introduction to pharmacology and toxicology.
2. What are the impacts of toxic substances or drugs at the molecular level?
3. How do toxic exposures lead to pathology/disease?
4. How do drugs function to remediate toxic exposures?
5. How do scientists and engineers address questions in toxicology and pharmacology?
Novel and practical approaches to science and medicine will be at the forefront of our discussions. This course is less detail-oriented, as it is more about scientific creativity and practical research approaches that answer important questions in medical, scientific, and engineering fields. These course discussion points provide students with basic knowledge applicable to clinical and basic research, providing a foundation for students interested in any scientific or medical fields.
Through the Academic Project, students research a drug or toxicant, its mechanism, and implications on human health to help them develop their own relevant model to explore the adverse human health impacts and potential treatments. This project takes the form of an informal grant project proposal, providing students with a tangible document containing their scientific goals and critical thinking associated with real preliminary data from laboratory sessions.
Successful completion of this course will introduce students to scientific reading, writing, and critical evaluation, skills utilized in college courses in all fields. Development of their own toxicology model as the final project requires students to collaborate, be creative, and ask their own questions and set goals, which are skills valued by college professors and students alike.
Prerequisites: Recent coursework in biology would be beneficial but is not mandatory. The course will focus heavily on biology and anatomy/histology, with some biomedical engineering or chemistry concepts, but students will be introduced to these topics as they are discussed. Students are not expected to have a background in these fields, but interest in them is appreciated.
STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders
Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2020; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.Visit Program Page Learn How to Apply