Topics and Aims of the Master of Science Toxicology Program

In cooperation with the University of Potsdam and other institutions of the region, the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin offers a master degree program in toxicology with a modern curriculum encompassing a wide variety of scientific aspects with an interdisciplinary character. This training program in toxicology is organized in modules and ends with the degree "Master of Science" (M.Sc.).

Toxicology is concerned with the adverse effects of chemical compounds. The objective of toxicology is not only to recognize adverse effects of substances and to describe them, but modern toxicology aims to elucidate the mechanisms of action, i. e., the interactions between the chemical and those biological structures on a molecular level which are relevant for the toxic effect. Toxicology is not a strictly self-contained area, but deals with all aspects which are important for the scientific evaluation of chemical substances. The specialities include „general toxicology“,  food toxicology, regulatory toxicology, ecotoxicology, immunotoxicology, reproductive and developmental toxicology, clinical toxicology and strategies for testing for the safety assessment of drugs and chemicals. Basic knowledge in the areas of biochemistry, biology, chemistry, genetics and physiology is a necessary prerequisite for understanding these areas.

The goal of this program in toxicology is to teach the basis of the interactions between substances at toxic concentrations and living organisms, as well as the molecular mechanism of the adverse effects of chemicals. The understanding of the mechanism of a toxic action is an important prerequisite for the scientifically based evaluation of a hazard associated with a substance. Furthermore, only with the knowledge of the mechanism of action and a deduction of structure activity relationships it is possible to predict toxic effects of new substances. This knowledge should enable students to perform a risk evaluation of chemicals or to predict the adverse effects of chemicals with the aim that human beings and the environment can be protected from harmful consequences of chemical exposure.

In particular, this master program endows the students with expertise, methods and skills to work scientifically in the area of toxicology. It prepares the students for future activities in university and non-university research, settings at regulatory authorities, in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry as well as in education. Currently there is a need for qualified candidates to fill toxicology positions at regulatory agencies and in industry.

The close cooperation between the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Potsdam, as well as other institutions in the region, makes available an exceptional broad basis of academic teachers for this Master of Science program. This tremendous diversity of competence results in substantial enrichment of the program.

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