Journal of Toxicological Education
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Welcome to the repository for the Journal of Toxicology Education. This journal publishes peer-reviewed articles and peer-reviewed teaching materials for those interested in toxicology education. Accepted materials include lecture strategies, laboratory materials, instructional methods, pedagogy, recorded video lectures, recorded audio lectures, podcasts, textbook reviews, and other materials. If in doubt whether a submission qualifies for publishing in the Journal, please email the editor.
Materials targeted at any audience, from post-graduate education to middle school, and to the general public, are accepted.
To submit to the journal, email the submission to Joshua Gray. The style guide of the Journal of Chemical Education is utilized for this journal*. Acceptable submissions include: Editorials, Commentaries, Letters, and Additions and Corrections, Articles, Communications, Demonstrations, Laboratory Experiments, Activities, and Technology Reports. For more details, read the style guide. Articles are published online immediately upon acceptance. There is no print version of this journal.
There is no charge to publish at JToxEd. Articles published in JToxEd are published under the Creative Commons license and can be cross-reference at the Life Sciences Teaching Resource Collection (lifescitrc.org) and at Course Source (coursesource.org). The Editorial Board meeting will occur at the annual Society of Toxicology conference. Check back for details.
The current editorial board includes prominent undergraduate educators within the discipline of toxicology who actively participate in and lead the Society of Toxicology's undergraduate education programs.***:
- Joshua Gray - U.S. Coast Guard Academy
- Blase Billack - St. John's University
- Mike Borland - Bloomsburg University
- Sue Ford - St. John's University
- Sidhartha Ray - Touro College of Pharmacy
- Mindy Reynolds - Washington College
- Angela Slitt - The University of Rhode Island
- Larissa Williams - Bates College
- Stephanie Zamule - Nazareth College
***JToxEd is an independent effort not affiliated with the American Chemical Society or the Society of Toxicology.
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ArticleAn Academic Service Learning (AS-L) Activity within an Undergraduate Course in Pharmacology(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Billack, BlaseAcademic service learning (AS-L) is a type of active learning in which a student demonstrates knowledge and understanding through service to the community and reflection. The present report describes an activity in which AS-L was implemented as part of an undergraduate pharmacology course. The course is common to the curricula of the Doctor of Pharmacy, Physician Assistant and Toxicology programs at St. John’s University. In the AS-L project, students were charged to develop a presentation which they would then give to members of the community who were unfamiliar with the presentation topics. Students worked in teams and formed their presentations around discussion topics such as drugs versus natural substances, the medical benefits of drugs, the possible toxicities of drugs both legal and illegal, or the mechanisms by which drugs enter or leave our bodies. The student teams then traveled to various service sites throughout the greater university community with the goal of community outreach through education. In the present report, strengths and limitations of the AS-L project have been noted. The major strength of the project, as indicated from student reflection papers, was that each student in the team became an active learner and the otherwise “passive learning” environment of the classroom became an active one at the service site. All students in the team presented and answered questions. A major limitation of the activity was finding a suitable instrument for the assessment of student learning. Future AS-L courses of this type are anticipated to include pre and post surveys.
ArticleAgents of Bioterrorism: Curriculum and Pedagogy in an Online Masters Program(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Page, Eric ; Gray, Joshua P.The Agents of Bioterrorism course (BSBD 640, University of Maryland University College) is a graduate level course created in response to an elevated need for scientists working in the field of medical countermeasures to biological and chemical weapons in the years following 9/11. Students read and evaluate assigned current primary literature articles investigating medical countermeasures at each stage of development. In addition, students learn concepts of risk assessment, comparing and ranking several agents of terror. Student learning is assessed through a variety of assignments. A term paper focuses on a lesser known weapon of terror, with students recommending the best countermeasure in development and delivering a risk assessment comparing their agent to other major weapons of terror discussed throughout the semester. Similarly, a group project on an assigned major weapon of terror (anthrax, plague, smallpox, vesicants, or nerve agent) focuses more heavily on evaluating primary literature and concluding which countermeasure(s) in development are the best. Students complete the course with a fundamental understanding of the mechanism of action of many biological agents, information literacy for the medical literature available at PubMed and the primary scientific literature, and a basic understanding of the role of the government in biodefense research. This paper describes the pedagogical approaches used to teach this course and how they might be adopted for other courses.
ArticleDevelopment of a Bachelor of Science in Toxicology Program at a Liberal Arts College(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Zamule, StephanieNazareth College, an independent, primarily undergraduate institution serving approximately 2,900 students, has recently developed a bachelor of science in toxicology program designed to prepare students for entry into careers in industry, government, or academia or for further study in graduate or health professional programs. The strong life sciences foundation courses and the variety of upper-level biology and chemistry electives already in existence at the College necessitated the development of only three new courses for the major – Principles of Toxicology, Ecotoxicology, and Cellular Toxicology. The program, including curriculum development, course design, and approval by both the College and New York State, took two years to develop. In its first year in existence, the program has attracted nine majors and the first course in the toxicology sequence, Principles of Toxicology, has become one of the most popular life sciences electives at the College.
ArticleDevelopment of an Animal Models Systems Laboratory: for Undergraduate Students(http://www.jtoxed.org, 2014) McGinnis, Courtney ; Priscilla, EncarnacaoStudents will work in groups through learner-centered instruction to design and carry out experiments using one of four model systems listed: Drosophila melanogaster (Fruit Fly), Caenorhabditis elgans (Roundworm), Dugesia tigrina (Planaria), or Danio rerio (Zebrafish). Student groups will design a novel experiment and hypothesis, based on the current literature. The students will be responsible for the animal husbandry of the models; C. elegans, D. tigrina and D. melanogaster. Student groups will perform experiments in weeks 4-6 and analyze their initial findings for their model organism. Following initial data analysis, students will repeat the same experiments or refine their experimental design and then perform experimentation in weeks 9-11. Repeating experiments is a necessary component of scientific research, typically an experiment is repeated at least three times to show that the work is reliable and verifiable, a very important element of research. Students will then spend the next two weeks working in their groups, analyzing data and preparing their oral presentation. During the oral presentation students will present their findings to the class, which will strengthen their oral and written communication skills.
ArticleEvaluation of local tolerance of a plant extract by the slug mucosal irritation (SMI) assay(http://www.jtoxed.org, 2015-01) Veryser, Lieselotte ; Lenoir, Joke ; Boonen, Jente ; Bracke, Nathalie ; Wynendaele, Evelien ; Adriaens, Els ; Nelis, Hans ; De Wever, Bram ; Remon, Jean-Paul ; De Spiegeleer, BartThis article describes the performance of a laboratory exercise, the Slug Mucosal Irritation (SMI) assay, carried out by third year undergraduate students, to investigate the local tolerance of an ethanolic plant extract. The plant extract, Spilanthes acmella, contains various bio-active compounds, such as the N-alkylamide spilanthol. After administration of the plant extract to the slugs, they were observed for possible discomfort and tissue damage. When slugs are exposed to a substance with irritant properties, the mucus production of the slugs will increase. Furthermore, slugs will release proteins, including enzymes, when tissue damage occurs. This laboratory experiment is a practically feasible in vivo test using slugs which are invertebrates that are not protected by the legislation on animal testing. Students were supervised by lab instructors who encouraged students to actively contribute in their groups, to think about the experimental design of the laboratory test, and to facilitate scientific discussions, but the majority of the ideas had to come from the students themselves. Hence, this biomedical in vivo experiment offered a great opportunity for students to learn to work in group, to critically interpret and report their results, to gain knowledge about the subject, and to communicate and discuss with other students as well as with the lab instructors. Furthermore, this experiment teaches students current toxicological methodologies encompassing principles and their application of biochemistry, analytical chemistry, toxicology, animal experimentation and data handling. This way of interdisciplinary teaching is especially important for last year undergraduate students, as this is a good preparation for the Masters dissertation. At the end of the laboratory exercise, students received a questionnaire and most of the students indicated that they gained valuable knowledge and skills. This laboratory exercise can be incorporated into chemical, biological, pharmaceutical, toxicological and medical disciplines.
ArticleIntroducing Toxicology into the Biochemistry Curricula: Using Cytochrome c (Cytc) Functionalities as a Model(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Borland, MichaelThe electron transport chain (ETC) is a keystone topic of all biochemistry courses at the undergraduate level. Many ETC components, especially cytochrome c (Cytc), are also important to the field of toxicology. Unfortunately, many primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) are unable to offer dedicated toxicology courses and laboratories due to faculty expertise and/or enrollment requirements. In an effort to provide chemistry and biology undergraduates with toxicology perspective and experience, I have integrated Cytc toxicology, and its role in apoptosis, into my Biochemistry I and II curriculum. This approach fulfills two goals: 1) integration of toxicology concepts into the biochemistry curriculum and 2) validation of fundamental biochemistry principles through demonstration of “real world” relevance in the field of toxicology. These concepts include Cytc “leakage” to the cytosol, activation of the apoptotic signaling cascade, Cytc/membrane interactions, the modulation of apoptosis by Cytc phosphorylation, and chemical/environmental toxicants that activate this function of Cytc. I conclude with a discussion of student assessment in relation to this methodology. Overall, these materials provide biochemistry instructors with a primer to introduce toxicology concepts in the greater biochemistry curricula or a means for toxicology faculty to validate key biochemistry principles within their classroom.
ArticleLettuce not be salty: An update of a common secondary education experiment measuring seed germination under salt-stressed conditions( 2022-02-22) Zangari, Shelby ; Mirowsky, JaimeAssessing the ecological impact of deicing roadways is a well-documented high school and undergraduate toxicology laboratory experiment. Most commonly, this experiment has been done using different concentrations of rock salt (NaCl) as the toxicant/deicer and buttercrunch lettuce seeds for the bioassay. However, as we are becoming a more environmentally conscious society, people, businesses, and city governments have explored substituting NaCl as a deicer for more eco-friendly alternatives, although the impact of these rock salt alternatives have not been well explored in the literature or in the classroom. Thus, the aim of this article is to update the common deicer experiment by having students compare the toxicity of rock salt to that of two different rock salt alternatives (beet salt and calcium chloride, CaCl2). The students then have to provide a recommendation for which deicer to use under different scenarios (for a homeowner, for a business, and for a city) and defend their choices based on an extensive literature search. By designing this experiment to have the students defend their recommendations, they will be utilizing higher-level thinking per Bloom’s Taxonomy, and they will be getting additional hands-on laboratory training in making solutions and performing serial dilutions by examining three deicers rather than just one. Thus, we believe that our update to this laboratory exercise should be considered for faculty interested in having their students conduct toxicology-based laboratory experiments.
ArticleA Toxicological Study using Zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a Model(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Reynolds, MindyOnly recently has it been adequately recognized that substances present in the environment can have adverse effects on developing organisms. Now, with environmental pollutants accumulating at an unprecedented rate, and with pharmaceuticals dominating western medicine, it is particularly important that we understand the effects of the substances to which we are exposed. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a widely used model system for the study of vertebrate development. This system is particularly amenable for use in the undergraduate laboratories because of the ease of collection and manipulation and the rapid rate of development. In this lab, students use zebrafish to examine the effects of nicotine, ethanol, and retinoic acid on normal development. Students first examine normal development and compare it to overall growth, dry weight, and behavior of zebrafish exposed to these chemicals. The students may also collect data on LC50 and notochord length. The quantitative data is evaluated for statistically significant differences between treatments. Finally, students write a research proposal for an independent experiment in which they expose embryos to a toxicant of their choice, carry out the experiment, and present their findings. This lab introduces students to the use of animal models and incorporates experimental design and data analysis. More importantly, it introduces
ArticleA Toxicologist's Perspective on Having and Doing it All: Teaching, Research, and Service at a Small Liberal Arts College(Journal of Toxicological Education, 2013) Williams, Larissa M.In the United States, a small liberal arts college is loosely defined as an institution that provides a residential and comprehensive education to students seeking a bachelor’s degree. There are many challenges and opportunities that exist within this educational framework for faculty who engage as teacher-scholars. A primary challenge is making time for research, teaching, and service. However, this can become an opportunity when undergraduate research experiences are integrated into the curriculum. This approach benefits students, who report a gain in confidence, experience, and increased enrollment in advanced degrees. Developing collaborations with faculty at other colleges, especially R1 research institutions, can be extremely helpful in supporting and advancing ones research year-round. Furthermore, salary is often only required for three months, making a liberal arts faculty member less expensive (and more qualified) than a postdoc. A second challenge is how to balance and understand the expectations set forth for tenure and promotion. Productivity in the lab can be advanced during the school year through student independent studies or thesis work; this can serve both the student and the faculty. Scholarship in teaching and learning is very important to many liberal arts schools, thus time spent working on and publishing about these subjects may be an adequate alternative to a “traditional” research trajectory. Finally, toxicology’s interface of many scientific disciplines positions professionals in the field in a strong position to succeed as teacher-scholars in small liberal arts colleges.
PublicationAn Undergraduate Toxicology Seminar Focusing on Ethical Reasoning and Communication Skill Development( 2020-05-24) Zamule, StephanieThe development of an undergraduate major in toxicology at Nazareth College provided the opportunity to develop a one-credit Principles of Toxicology Seminar designed to address ethical reasoning skills and communication (both oral and written), areas which can be challenging to address in traditional courses and which have been noted to be areas of deficiency in toxicology graduates. The seminar is a co-requisite to Principles of Toxicology, the introductory course in the major, and is built around the study of 5-7 environmental issues selected by the students. The issues are introduced through readings, documentaries, and student small group oral “environmental issue presentations.” Students then write “policy papers” through which they survey the primary literature to determine the health effects of the chemical(s) implicated in the issue and make a determination of whether they believe the data support the current exposure limits set by regulatory agencies. Student evaluations of the seminar using the IDEA metric indicate substantial progress on objectives related to critical thinking and oral and written communication skill development, among others, as well as overall very positive views on the seminar itself and the field of toxicology. Thus, this seminar may serve as a pedagogical model of a course that engages students with real-world environmental issues of interest to them, while facilitating the development of the ethical reasoning and communication skills that can be challenging to address in the traditional curriculum.