Toxicology programme outline: What is the Tox programme about?

If you are considering applying to the Master’s programme in Toxicology, you might be wondering one of the next things: What does this programme involve? What do I learn during the Master’s? In which areas can I get job? Don’t worry!  I’m here to give an overview of what the Tox programme is about. During this blog I will give a personal perspective as toxicology student and will try to answer some of your questions and inquiries regarding to the programme.

The programme director

"Credits: Karolinska Institutet website"

Annika Hanberg is the Toxicology programme director and because of all her tirelessly efforts to improve the programme year by year she has been also called “mama tox” and with good reasons. Besides being an excellent toxicologist and researcher, Annika is also an amazing human being; she has tons of patience and a very nice and sweet way to explain things, definitely the best programme director ever.

Toxicity

As toxicologists, the most important and obvious aspect in which we have to focus on is toxicity. You may think that toxicity refers only to poisons, dangerous chemicals or well-known toxic substances, but the truth is that everything surrounding us can be toxic!  Toxicity is whatever substance that has the capacity of causing damage, so… Why everything can be toxic for us or other organisms? The answer to this question was given by Paracelsus in 1538 and the key point to solve this inquire relies on the DOSE.  A dose itself can make something a poison; this means that if for example you eat or drink something in excess this will probably damage you. Perhaps, at this point you already understand a little bit more the implications and importance of toxicology for the daily life.

"Credits: Aline Colonnello"

Toxicology areas

When you get involved into the Toxicology field, it is possible that you don’t know which areas are comprised in. There are four main areas with their respective branches:

  • Research that involves mainly the study of chemicals’ toxic mechanisms and their adverse effects on human health
  • Chemical industry which encompasses the development and risk assessment of new chemicals
  • Pharmacy industry that focuses on drug discovery (medicines), toxicity testing, clinical trials and marketing
  • Regulatory authority which takes part in risk management, risk communication and policy-making that will eventually lead to generate regulations for toxicants.

"Credits: Anna Beronius, IMM"

All the aforementioned areas can give you hints of all the job possibilities you can have as toxicologist and specially at KI, where the job opportunities that we have are wonderful and very diverse.

Backgrounds

Let me tell you about some of the different backgrounds that my classmates have. An important fraction of them are Pharmacists, some others (like me) are Biologists and others have Bachelor’s degrees in Biomedicine, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering and Nanotechnology. As you can see it is a very diverse group! If you would like to know if you are eligible you can find more information on the programme website or or get in touch with our Admissions Office.

Excursion to Finnham

As additional information and fun fact about this programme is that there is a school trip to Finnham archipelago (is a small island). The programme arranges a one-day (24hr) excursion for the first year students in order to get to know our classmates and some of the teachers better. The place is astonishingly beautiful, the food that you get at the local restaurant is delicious (covered by the programme) and the time you spend at this place with your mates is priceless. The excursion is part of the schedule and it is MANDATORY, so you can have lots of fun!

"Credits: Aline Colonnello"

I hope this blog had been useful and it helps you to make the right choice or get more orientated about what toxicology is.

If you have any more questions don’t hesitate and contact me!

Aline Colonnello: gloria.aline.colonnello.montero@stud.ki.se

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