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MSc in Human Health and Toxicology

Overview of human health and toxicology

Human health is about protecting ourselves from harm and treating disease once it occurs. Researchers within the toxicology of human health field encompass both these aspects. You might be interested in protecting children from exposure to chemicals such as BPA or in stopping dioxin from contaminating the food chain. Do want to know more about how alcohol affects an unborn child or develop safer chemotherapeutics? You could study any one of these topics, and more, within the MSc (Tox) programme.

The MSc (Toxicology) is designed to be flexible, you select the papers that interest you and the research supervisor that has the most interesting project. You conduct research into occupational, regulatory or basic science questions. We don’t expect you to limit yourself to papers or research run through the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, staff there just do the administration for the degree. This course can be tailored to suit people who not only want to work in science but also those interested in policy and government.

We’ve included some ideas of papers and potential research supervisors below, but the world is your oyster. Let us know what you want to do/research/be and we’ll help you put your course together!

Email tox.admin@otago.ac.nz

Once you have talk to us and are happy with your course, enrolment is via eVision.

Course advising at the University of Otago

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Papers


Students are required to take PHAL428, the basic toxicology paper, and the research preparation course PHAL495 (or an equivalent). These two papers comprise 60 points of the required total 120 points that students are taken in the first year of MSc study. The remainder of the papers are your choice!

Required papers

PHAL 428 (20 points)

PHAL 428 is a multi-disciplinary paper that teaches the core concepts of Toxicology. Each year the content will be aligned to the current student cohort allowing them to investigate how basic toxicology principles align to their areas of interest. The paper is taught using current toxicology literature that is partially selected by the students. This means that students with little or no prior toxicology knowledge can participate and learn at a level that is relevant for them.

Core concepts covered:

  • Basic toxicology concepts including; mechanisms of toxicology, absorption, distribution and excretion of toxicants, xenobiotic metabolism, toxicokinetics, chemical carcinogenesis, hepatotoxicology.
  • Based on student interest some of the following areas may be covered may include: genetic toxicology, developmental toxicology, renal toxicology, toxic effects of pesticides, toxic effects of metals, toxic effects of radiation, venoms and animal poisons, air pollution, ecotoxicology, food toxicology, forensic toxicology, occupational toxicology, regulatory toxicology, other.

Core skills developed:

  • Critical analysis and thinking
  • Scientific study design
  • Communication of technical information to a non-specialist audience
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Problem solving
  • Written and oral presentation skills
  • Listening skills

PHAL 495 or equivalent (40 points)

PHAL 495 is the research preparation course. It is normally taken in the first year of the Master’s course and provides an opportunity for students to read and interpret literature that is directly related to their proposed research project. Students will produce a literature review relevant to their study and present two research papers to the Departmental staff. Students who are planning to work with a supervisor in a department other than The Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology will normally take an equivalent research preparation course.

Core skills developed:

  • Sourcing and evaluating scientific literature
  • Scientific study design
  • Presentation of information in a research (scientific) style
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Problem solving
  • Written and oral presentation skills

Possible papers

In addition to the two required courses (PHAL421 and PHAL495) students must take additional courses to make up an additional 60 points to reach the necessary 120 point study load for the first year of the MSc course. This means students can take an additional two 30-point papers, three 20-point papers or an additional four 15-point papers. Unlike many other courses students are free to choose just about any combination of papers that they like, this means it is possible to combine a zoology paper with a geology paper and a genetics paper if this is the best combination. However if students select a paper that is outside your undergraduate study area, you must seek approval from the department teaching the post-graduate paper during course approval (e.g. if you studied science as an undergraduate but wish to take a post-graduate law paper, you must gain approval from the Law Faculty to do this).

Some papers relevant to human health that could be included in the MSc (Toxicology) are listed below:

Note: this is not an exhaustive list, students are encouraged to contact us with their research and subject interests so we can help them find the appropriate courses.

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Possible supervisors and research projects

Assoc. Prof. David McBride, Preventive and Social Medicine

  • My professional scope of practice lies in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. A strong interest in the 'evidence base' for practice has led to a research career in Occupational Epidemiology and biostatistics. I try to put theory into practice by identifying, through 'dose response' relationships, harmful levels of occupational exposure.

Assoc. Prof. Grant Butt, Physiology

  • Movement of drugs and other substances across the gut wall
  • Effect of outer membrane vesicles from gram-negative bacteria on intestinal epithelial cells

Prof. Richard Cannon, Dentistry

  • Professor Cannon is using metabolomics to investigate the changes in metabolism that are associated with the change from yeast to hyphal growth. A major focus of his research is the drug resistance of human fungal pathogens.


Prof. Susan Dovey, General Practice and Rural Health

  • I have researched clinical topics in general practice for nearly 30 years, addressing research questions in postmenopausal osteoporosis, respiratory tract infections, diabetes, breaking bad news, attitudes to death and dying, immunisation, and preventive medicine


Prof. Stephen Duffull, Pharmacy

  • Currently my research involves the development of pharmacological models, modelling of data and the design of clinical studies. These foci essentially revolve around the therapeutic areas of coagulation, malaria and clinical toxicology.


Dr Anita Dunbier, Biochemistry

  • The majority of breast cancers require the hormone oestrogen to grow. Drugs that act by preventing the production of oestrogen are the most effective treatment currently available for this type of cancer. However, these drugs do not work well for all patients. Our previous research suggests that attracting immune cells to the cancer site may cause the cancer to keep growing during therapy. This project aims to identify which immune cells are recruited to breast cancer cells during treatment and how the cancer cells signal to recruit them to the tumour.


Dr Khaled Greish, Pharmacology

  • Dr Greish's areas of interest span the formulation and characterization of different advanced drug delivery systems, anticancer drug discovery/development, tumour vascular biology and animal tumour models.


Prof Kurt Krause, Biochemistry

  • Structural biology of infectious diseases, structure-aided drug design, protein crystallography, x-ray diffraction, structure and function of enzymes and proteins including antibiotic targets, redox proteins, nucleases, luciferase, and bacterial pathogenesis factors.


Prof. Brian Monk, Dentistry

  • The main aim of Dr Monk's research is to develop new anti-infectives, particularly antimicrobial agents, by understanding of the structure and function of accessible membrane proteins at the surface of pathogenic organisms.


Prof Rhonda Rosengren, Pharmacology

  • Toxicological research in my laboratory involves the identification of novel treatments for estrogen receptor negative breast cancer and hormone refractory prostate cancer. In conjunction with Dr. Bill Hawkins in the department of Chemistry we are synthesizing novel drugs and examining their activity in both in vitro and in vivo models of breast and prostate cancer.  In conjunction with Dr. Khaled Greish we are developing our novel drugs into nanomedicines.

Programme requirements

Master of Science (MSc) in Anatomy

Papers and Thesis
  • ANAT 458  Current Topics in Anatomical Science

  • ANAT 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Three of:
  • ANAT 5 (thesis)

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Biochemistry

Papers and Thesis
  • BIOC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:
    • BIOC 461  Research Design and Analysis in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 462  Molecular Biology
    • BIOC 463  Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 464  Applied Biochemistry
  • Thesis: BIOC 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Bioengineering

Papers and Thesis
  • BIOE 401  Research Methods
  • BIOE 404  Medical Devices and Technology
  • BIOE 495  Master's Thesis Preparation
  • Two further approved papers at 400-level which may include BIOE 403
  • Thesis: BIOE 5

Master of Science (MSc) in Botany

Papers and Thesis
  • BTNY 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:

    Note: With the approval of the Head of Department, another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of BTNY 461-470.

  • Thesis: BTNY 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Chemistry

Papers and Thesis
  • CHEM 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:
    • CHEM 461  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 462  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 463  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • CHEM 464  Topics in Advanced Chemistry
    • HAZA 401  Management of Chemical Hazards
    • HAZA 404  Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
  • Thesis: CHEM 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Cognitive Science

Papers and Thesis
  • COGS 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Papers worth 80 points from:
  • COGS 5 (thesis)

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Computational Modelling

No new enrolments are currently being accepted for this subject.

Papers and Thesis
  • COMO 401 (this paper is not currently offered)

  • MATH 495 Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Three further approved papers at 400-level from MATH, STAT, COSC, or ELEC

  • Thesis: COMO 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Computer Science

Papers and Thesis

Master of Science (MSc) in Consumer Food Science

Papers and Thesis
  • FOSC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four further papers from FOSC 421, FOSC 422, FOSC 423, FOSC 424, FOSC 425, Topics in Advanced Consumer Food Science 1-5 approved by the Head of the Department of Food Science

    Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science, FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one elective 400-level FOSC paper.

  • Thesis: FOSC 5

Master of Science (MSc) in Ecology

Papers and Thesis

Master of Science (MSc) in Economics

Papers and Thesis

Master of Science (MSc) in Electronics

No new enrolments will be accepted for this subject.

Papers and Thesis

    40 points from:

    • ELEC 441  Linear Systems and Noise
    • ELEC 442  Digital Signal Processing
    • ELEC 443  Boundary Value Problems of Mathematical Physics
    • ELEC 444  Logic Synthesis
    • ELEC 445  Inverse Problems and Imaging
    • ELEC 446  Computational Inference
    • 80 further 400-level points, as approved by the Programme Director

      Only one of ELEC 480 or ELEC 490 may be included.

  • Thesis: ELEC 5

Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Energy Science and Technology

Papers and Thesis
  • EMAN 490  Dissertation

  • Three 400-level EMAN papers

  • One further paper at 400-level approved by the Programme Director

  • Thesis: ENST 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Management

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOG 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • GEOG 471  Impact Assessment and Sustainability

  • GEOG 472  Developments in Environmental Management

  • Two further approved papers at 400-level

  • Thesis: ENVM 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Environmental Science

Papers and Thesis
  • ENVS 495 (this paper is not currently offered)

  • Four 400-level papers from appropriate subjects approved by the Programme Director

  • Thesis: ENVS 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Food Science

Papers and Thesis
  • FOSC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of FOSC 401, FOSC 402, FOSC 403, FOSC 404, FOSC 405 Topics in Advanced Food Science 1-5, approved by the Head of the Department of Food Science.

    Note: With approval from the Head of the Department of Food Science FOSC 460 or one 400-level paper from another relevant subject may be substituted for one elective 400-level FOSc paper.

  • Thesis: FOSC 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Genetics

Papers and Thesis
  • GENE 411  Current Topics in Genetic

  • GENE 412  Current Topics in Genetics

  • GENE 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Two of:

    Note: With approval from the Programme Director, another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of the papers listed above.

  • Thesis: GENE 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Geographic Information Systems

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOG 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four papers from:
    • SURV 509  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies
    • SURV 511  Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling
    • SURV 512  Geovisualisation and Cartography
    • SURV 513  Resource Mapping and Image Processing
    • SURV 519  Spatial Analysis and Programming
    • and/or other 400- or 500-level papers approved by the Programme Director

  • Thesis: GISS 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Geography

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOG 495 Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four 400-level GEOG papers

  • Thesis: GEOG 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

 

Master of Science (MSc) in Geology

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOL 401  Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience or (GEOL 402 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 and GEOL 403 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2)

  • GEOL 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Six further 400-level GEOL papers

  • Thesis: GEOL 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Geophysics

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOL 401  Current Topics and Advanced Methods in Geoscience or (GEOL 402 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 1 and GEOL 403 Advanced Research Methods in Geoscience 2)

  • GEOL 495 Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Further 400-level papers worth a total of at least 60 points from GEOL, MATH, PHSI, or SURV

  • Thesis: GEPX 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Human Nutrition

Papers and Thesis
  • HUNT 495  Master's Thesis Preparation
  • HUNT 454  Nutritional Biostatistics
  • Three of:
    • HUNT 441  Research Methods
    • HUNT 445  Applications in Sport and Exercise Nutrition
    • HUNT 452  Nutrition and Human Health
    • HUNT 453  Topics in Behavioural and Applied Nutrition
    • HUNT 455  Advanced Topics in Human Nutrition
    • NUTN 407  Advanced Sports Nutrition
    • or another approved 400-level paper

  • Thesis: HUNT 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

    Further information regarding the MSc in Human Nutrition is available from the Department of Human Nutrition website.

Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology

Papers and Thesis
  • IMMU 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • MICR 461  Molecular Microbiology

  • MICR 462  Microbiology and Immunology Research

  • MICR 463  Trends in Microbiology

  • MICR 464  Medical Microbiology and Immunology

  • Thesis: IMMU 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Information Science

Papers and Thesis
  • INFO 490 Dissertation
  • Four further 400-level INFO papers
  • Thesis: INFO 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Marine Science

Papers and Thesis
  • MARI 495 Master's Thesis Preparation

  • MARI 401 Advanced Methods in Marine Science

  • And 400-level AQFI, MARI or OCEN papers to make a total of 120 points (one may be replaced with an approved 400-level paper in a Science subject).

  • Thesis: MARI 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematics

Papers and Thesis
  • MATH 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four 400-level MATH papers

  • Thesis: MATH 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Microbiology

Papers and Thesis
  • MICR 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • MICR 461  Molecular Microbiology

  • MICR 462  Microbiology and Immunology Research

  • MICR 463  Trends in Microbiology

  • MICR 464  Medical Microbiology and Immunology

  • Thesis: MICR 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Neuroscience

Papers and Thesis

Notes:
(i)Papers with PSYC codes are worth 10 points each and all other papers are worth 20 points each,
(ii)PHSL 474 may be taken only by students supervised in the Department of Physiology.
(iii)With approval from the Neuroscience Programme Director, one of the listed papers may be replaced by another 400-level paper.
(iv)PSYC 432 may count toward these subject requirements if taken during years during which it was offered as Special Topic: Social and Affective Neuroscience.

Master of Science (MSc) in Pharmacology

Papers and Thesis
  • PHAL 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • PHAL 421  General Pharmacology and Toxicology

  • Three of:
  • Thesis: PHAL 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

 

Master of Science (MSc) in Physics

Papers and thesis

Only one of PHSI 480 or PHSI 490 may be included.

Master of Science (MSc) in Physiology

Papers and Thesis
  • PHSL 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • PHSL 471  Systematic Physiology

  • PHSL 472  Neurophysiology

  • PHSL 473  Cellular Physiology

  • PHSL 474  Research Topics

  • Thesis: PHSL 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Plant Biotechnology

Papers and Thesis
  • PLBI 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • PLBI 401  Special Topics

  • BTNY 461  Plant Physiology and Biotechnology

  • BTNY 465 Plant and Environment

  • One further approved 400-level BIOC or BTNY paper

  • Thesis: PLBI 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Psychology

Papers and Thesis
  • PSYC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Papers worth 80 points from PSYC 401-439

  • Thesis: PSYC 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Sport, Exercise and Health

Papers

Master of Science (MSc) in Statistics

Papers and Thesis
  • STAT 490 Dissertation

  • Four 400-level STAT papers

  • Thesis: STAT 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Surveying

Papers and thesis

Master of Science (MSc) in Toxicology

Papers and Thesis
  • PHAL 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • PHAL 428  Current Research Literature in Toxicology

  • Three further 400-level papers approved by the Programme Director

  • Thesis: PHAL 5B

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Master of Science (MSc) in Wildlife Management

Papers and Thesis

Master of Science (MSc) in Zoology

Papers and Thesis