Study of the mechanism of action of toxicants in the environment

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course "Study of mechanisms of action of environmental toxins" aims at providing basic concepts and principles of action by which environmental toxicants exert their negative effects on human health and on the environment.
Students will be provided - for each of the toxicant discussed in the course - with notions on the routes of exposure , their metabolism in humans and in other living organisms, their mechanism of toxic action on the target organ with particular attention to epigenetic effects. We will also present and discuss issues related to environmental toxicity events with national and international significance (examples: health effects from pollution of particulate pollution in large cities, dioxin in Seveso, the Taranto case, nuclear accidents: Chernobyl /Fukushima).
Expected learning outcomes
The course aims to provide students with a general knowledge of the genetic, epigenetic and molecular mechanisms with which environmental xenobiotics influence patho-physiological processes, both at the cellular and tissue level and at the level of the single organs and of the organism in its complexity. At the end of the course the student will have acquired the necessary knowledge to evaluate the complexity of the interaction between xenobiotics and higher organisms as a result of processes, interconnected with each other, that occur at different level.
The student will also acquire sufficient terminology and notions to review the scientific literature in the field of molecular and cellular toxicology.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Based on the Ministerial decrees and of the legislation imposed by the evolution of the Covid-19 emergency, the schedule of lessons and the methods of teaching as well as notices related will be published on the Ariel platform . Classroom activities will be delivered in synchronous mode on the Teams platform. The activities will be recorded and made available on Ariel.
The exams will be held orally on the Teams platform.
Course syllabus
- Introduction to the history of toxicology. General aspects of environmental toxicology
- Toxicokinetics
- Toxicodynamics
- Introduction to epigenetics.
- Effects of environmental contaminanta on epigenetics.
- Mechanism Action of specific pollutants (metals, hydrocarbons, halogenated solvents).
- Toxic effects of ionizing radiation.
- Presentation and discussion of cases of environmental pollution (example: Seveso, Bophal, Fukushima ...)
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is required except the rudiments of toxicology and cell biology learned in training activities in the same course of study.
Teaching methods
The course is divided into a series of front lessons with slide projection in Power Point. The lectures slides are loaded on the Ariel website. In addition to the teacher of reference, interventions of experts on specific topics will be also possible.
Teaching Resources
Articles and reviews on the topics covered in the course will be made available from the Ariel website.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final assessment of the knowledge learned and the skills developed during the course takes place through the final exam which consists of an interview of about an hour. The exam is considered passed if the student has achieved a minimum score of 18 points in the written test.
The booking on the UNIMIA portal, within the dates established for each appeal, is mandatory for the examination.
BIO/14 - PHARMACOLOGY - University credits: 4
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Sironi Luigi