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Center for Biochemical Toxicology

The Center for Biochemical Toxicology at the University of Connecticut fosters excellence in toxicology research and education. With full-time faculty from six university departments, and several adjunct faculty, the Center for Biochemical Toxicology trains the scientists needed to deal with local, regional, and national issues involving toxic substances, their use, and their regulation. These scientists are employed both locally and nationally in government, industry and academia.

They contribute to the protection of public and environmental health by:

 Assuring that new medicines, food additives, agricultural and other chemicals are safe for humans and the environment.
 Evaluating risks from real and potential human exposures to chemical substances in association with daily activities or accidents.
 Providing new knowledge through fundamental and applied research related to the effects of chemical substances on living organisms.

The center provides a common focal point for a large number of exceptional faculty and students with common interests. The full-time and adjunct faculty members associated with the center serve as experts in their research areas on select advisory committees. This provides important service to the State of Connecticut, as well as the national and international public and environmental health communities. These may take the form of:

 Expert consultantships for governmental agencies and private industry.
 Collaborative and contractual studies.
 Speakers for public or corporate education programs.
 Continuing education for professionals. 
 In-service training programs.
 Toxicology training for non-degree students.

The center's primary functions are in graduate and postdoctoral education and research which are supported by fellowships and grants from government agencies and chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The School of Pharmacy’s Toxicology Program offers pre- and postdoctoral research training in environmental toxicology through a training grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.  The center organizes the annual Toxicology Scholars Colloquium that provides a unique opportunity for students and area toxicologists to meet with leaders of toxicology research.

The research activities at the center reflect the interests of the participating faculty and provide important new knowledge in the very broad fields of biochemical and molecular toxicology.

Ongoing research studies include:

 Understanding the fundamental means by which naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals cause harm.
 Development of novel bio-monitoring methods for detection of environmental contaminants.
Investigation of novel antidotes for treatment of poisoning.
 Using natural and synthetic chemicals as tools to investigate vital cellular processes and human diseases.
 Development of new analytical methods for detection of naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals.
 Development of novel computer models to predict disposition of chemicals by living organisms.
 Understanding the role of biotransformation in the action and toxicity of natural and synthetic chemicals.

Such research is essential for advancing our knowledge base of the interactions of living organisms with naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals.  It will aid in assessing the risks associated with different exposure conditions, and will improve the treatment of accidental poisonings. Importantly, it will also provide the needed direction for the development of new, safer drugs, and other important chemicals, which pose less risk to people and the environment while improving the quality of life.

The benefits of Center for Biochemical Toxicology include:

 Provision of a broad base of expertise for assessing human and environmental toxicological impact.
 Discovery and dissemination of important new toxicology knowledge.
 Improvement of public understanding of toxic hazards and risk assessment.
 Insurance of adequate, professional toxicology manpower for the State of Connecticut.
 Improved attractiveness of Connecticut to industries that require toxicology expertise.