Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course gives to students the fundamental knowledge on the mechanisms of interactions between contaminants and humans. Students will also acquire tools for information acquisition and the ability to evaluate the reliability of information.
Course contents summary
The course gives to students the knowledge for understanding the effect on human health of the main environmental contaminants, and the ways for exposure. It analyses the basis for individual hypersusceptibility responses. Real cases of pollution events are analysed.
-Fundamental concepts of animal biology: cells, tissues, organs, apparata
-Exposure to environmental contaminants: the main pathways to contamination in humans
-Distribution of contaminants in the human body
-Elements on metabolism of contaminants: phase I, phase II, conjugation, drug metabolism
-Excretion of contaminants
-Role of individual hypersusceptibility in the response to contaminants
-Toxicity of environmental contaminants to cell components, genotoxicity
-Toxicity of environmental contaminants to systems and organs
-Examples and case studies: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, fibers and particles, animal and plant toxins
-Exercises on reading websites, newspapers, scientific sources
Slides used for the lectures are available in the platforme Elly.
A textbook on Toxicology is suggested for adoption.
Additional material provided by the lecturer is made available on Elly.
The course is organised with frontal lectures, with slides to illustrate the concepts. Occasionally material from the international literature, in English, is illustrated.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam is oral or written as the student wishes. The student will develop a research in autonomy on a contaminating substance; the student will discuss its presence in the environment, the mechanisms of absorption, distribution, metabolism or excretion and examples of general or specific toxicity.
Verification of Dublin descriptors:
-knowledge and application of knowledge, learning skills are verified during the discussion on the topics, based on the reply to questions or on the written essay
-communication skills are verified by the use of appropriate language and ability in expression
The basal knowledge required to pass the exam consists in correctly describing the knowledge on the adsorption mechanisms and at least one example of specific toxic effect for the contaminant of choice, without plagiarism from other sources.