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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 20, 2006

UI To Offer Interdisciplinary Graduate Program In Human Toxicology

A new degree program in human toxicology will be offered by the University of Iowa Graduate College with additional support from the Colleges of Public Health and Medicine.

The interdisciplinary program, approved this fall by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, will prepare students with advanced training in the field of human toxicology. Drawing on the fields of chemistry, physiology, pathology, genetics, statistics, and risk assessment sciences, the program will prepare graduates to work in academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and industry.

Executive Vice President and Provost Michael J. Hogan said the new program is an example of how the university is responding to opportunities created by the intersection of UI strengths and emerging needs. "This is an area of expertise for which there is growing demand, and in which we know we can offer a premier program," he said.

Larry Robertson, professor of occupational and environmental health, will direct the program. Peter Thorne, professor of occupational and environmental health, will serve as associate director. Some 21 faculty members from four colleges will participate in the program.

"The training of toxicologists requires expertise from numerous disciplines," Robertson said. "University faculty excel in these areas. Therefore the program is well-positioned to train graduate level toxicologists."

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the university had an informal toxicology program that was renowned for producing leaders in the field; five graduates of the informal program were elected president of the Society of Toxicology. The informal program ended in the 1980s.

"For many years Iowa generated leaders in the field of toxicology. I believe Dr. Robertson and Dr. Thorne will restore the program to its previous stature and take it to new levels," said John Keller, dean of the Graduate College.

The new program, which will begin offering courses this spring, will offer both master's of science and doctoral degrees in human toxicology. Drawing on the strengths of the UI health sciences, as well as the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the program will focus on human health and translational medical aspects of toxicology as a discipline.

"Training graduate students in human toxicology is of critical importance considering the prevalence of chemical use and toxicant exposure in our society," said James Merchant, dean of the College of Public Health.

Along with Robertson and Thorne, faculty in the program in human toxicology include:

From the College of Public Health: Gabriele Ludewig, Hans-Joachim Lehmler, William Field, Fredric Gerr and Laurence Fuortes.

From the College of Medicine: Larry Oberley, Garry Buettner, Frederick Domann, Douglas Spitz, Paul McCray, Jerrold Weiss, Joel Kline, Prabhat Goswami and Kenneth Dornfeld.

From the College of Pharmacy: Michael Duffel, Craig Svensson, Jon Doorn and Dale Wurster.

From the College of Engineering: David Murhammer, Keri Hornbuckle and Jerald Schnoor.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Larry Robertson, 319-335-4554,; Writer: Kris Yows