Toxicology and drug disposition deals with the interactions of foreign chemicals with protein targets on the surface of cell membranes as well as within cells, sometimes leading to toxic manifestations, but other times protecting normal cellular functions. Such chemicals include established and newly developed drugs, natural products such as dietary compounds, and manmade environmental contaminants. To enter the cell or the whole organism, including the human being, such chemicals must pass through membranes containing transporters, which either facilitate or prevent uptake. Although metabolic enzymes many times serve, in unison with transporters, as further protective barriers for the cell against foreign chemicals, sometimes such enzymes give rise to reactive metabolites, which form the basis for cytotoxic or carcinogenic actions. Some chemicals or their metabolites can induce oxidative stress in cells, whereas others can be protective. It is the balance between the healthy and harmful effects of these agents that determines whether the cell, or organism, will survive. Numerous research opportunities related to drug transport and the actions of xenobiotic compounds are available. Courses in basic and advanced principles of drug metabolism/transport and toxicology are available.
Track Director: Kenneth D. Tew, Ph.D., D.Sc.
- Gary Gilkeson, M.D., Rheumatology
- David T. Kurtz, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Pharmacology
- Rick G. Schnellman, Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Kenneth D. Tew, Ph.D., D.Sc., Cell and Molecular Pharmacology
- Michael J. Wargovich, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Pharmacology