Courses on Environmental Health

Doctoral programs in Environmental Health Sciences are designed to prepare students for technical, professional and supervisory positions and careers in academic institutions, public agencies and industry.


The curriculum emphasizes the application of classical biological, physical and medical sciences to help solve environmental and public health problems.


* Those applying for PhD in Environmental Health need to have completed a Master’s degree in Natural Sciences.


Core Courses in Environental Health (15 credits)

1. Principles of Environmental Chemistry (2 credits)
2. Principles of Toxicology (2 credits)
3. Introduction to Environmental Health (2 credits)
4. Responsible Conduct of Scientific Research (1 credit)
5. Laboratory Rotations in Environmental Health and Toxicology (3 credits)
6. Current Literature in Environmental Health and Toxicology (1 credit)
7. Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (2 credits)
8. Introductory Applied Statistics (2 credits)


Supporting Courses in Environmental Health (12 credits)


1. Mapping the human genome (1 credit) 

Regulation of gene activity. Gene mutations. The techniques: cloning, Southern and Northern blotting, technique of PCR. Identification of gene mutations. 


2. Cancer: Mechanisms of carcinogenesis; alterations in proto-oncogeneses (1 credit) 

Molecular mechanisms of chemical, radiation and biological carcinogenesis. Classification of carcinogenes. Instability of cancer cells. Tumor-suppressor genes. Chromosomal abnormalities in tumors. Chromosome breakage syndromes’ role in cancer. Oncogenes. Cancer introduction. Aberrations in cancer cells. Cell transformation and malignization. Normal and transformed cells. Chemoprevention of cancer. Malfunction in repair and replication. Human hereditary disorders that may involve defects in repairing DNA. A role in cancer. Premature aging syndromes. 


3. Genetics of immune system (2 credits)

Structure and function of immunoglobulins. Major histocompatibility gene complex. Blood groups. Defects of immune system. Autoimmune and immune deficiency diseases. 


4. Basic concepts of genetic testing and monitoring (1 credit)

Dosimetry and dose-response relationships. Mutagenicity, carcinogenicity and teratogenecity induced by radiation and environmental pollutants. Tests for mutagenicity. Methods of monitoring of human exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic agents. Methods of epidemiological research. Evaluation of health risks to progeny. 


5. Ecological Genetics. Genetic screening (1 credit)

Human populations and their structure. Genetic variations in human populations. Use of population analyses. Genetic drift. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and microevolution. Modern trends in genetic engineering of microorganisms, plants, animals. Their impact in environmental problems. 


6. Structure of interphase nuclei (1 credit)

DNA content of nuclei. Molecular differentiation of chromosomes. Nucleoli and chromocenters. Heterochromatin. Structure and function of telomere. 


7. Cell proliferation (1 credit)

Cell cycle. Proliferation and quiescent cells. Growth factors. Intracellular cell signaling. Concepts of cell growth regulation. 


8. Cell differentiation. Aging and Death (1 credit)

Models of cell differentiation in vitro. Concepts of cell differentiation. Aging of cells in vitro. Necrosis and apoptosis. 


9. Structure and function of the eucaryotic chromosome and the karyotype (1 credit)

Metaphase chromosomes, primary and secondary construction. Chromosome number size, shape, chromosome fine structure. Polythene and lampbrush chromosomes. Chromosomal in situ hybridization. Causes of chromosome breaks. Spontaneous chromosome breaks. Radiation, chemically and virus – induced breaks. Chromosomal fragile regions. Chromosome structural aberrations. Reciprocal and Robertsonian translocations. Telomere associations. Isochromosomes and dysenteric chromosomes. Inactivation of centromere. Triradial and multiradial chromosomes. 


 10. Mapping of human chromosomes (1 credit)

Gene mapping. Family studies, marker chromosomes. Cell hybridization. Recombinant DNA gene mapping methods. 


11. Causes of chromosome breaks (1 credit)

Spontaneous chromosome breaks. Radiation, chemically and virus-induced breaks. Chromosomal fragile regions. Chromosome structural aberrations. Reciprocal and Robersonian translocations. Telomere associations. Isochromosomes and dysenteric chromosomes. Inactivation of centromere. Triradial and multiradial chromosomes. Chromosome numerical aberriations.