Queen's University
PHAR 380 Drug and Environmental Toxicology

PHAR 380, Drug and Environmental Toxicology, will explore the human toxicology associated with both pharmaceutical and environmental exposures. Topics will include metabolism and mechanisms of toxicity of various pharmaceuticals and environmental pollutants. Toxicological effects of specific classes of environmental toxicants and different groups of pharmaceuticals will also be discussed.

Minimum 3rd year (Level 3) standing and one of (BCHM 270/3.0, BCHM 315/3.0, BCHM 316/3.0, BCHM 218/3.0 or BIOL 334/3.0).

PHAR 416/3.0

After completing PHAR 380 Drug and Environmental Toxicology, students will be able to:

  1. Describe mechanisms of toxicity and chemical-mediated carcinogenesis to explain the cellular and subcellular actions of xenobiotics.
  2. Discuss the biological effects of major classes of environmental toxicants and pharmaceuticals to evaluate a case study/problem and identify the cause.
  3. Survey current topics in toxicology and to examine and critically analyze their accuracy and how these reports influence society.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Leaders, health professionals engage with others to contribute to a vision of a high-quality health care system and take responsibility for the delivery of excellent patient care through their activities as clinicians, administrators, scholars, or teachers.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Simulation/virtual lab (30%)

Working individually, students will work through a virtual toxicology lab, in which the goal is to determine toxic doses of drugs and/or environmental chemicals. In this experiment, students will use knowledge learned from course modules in an applied manner. Students will discuss their results and conclusions within a group. After discussion, a written lab report will be submitted for evaluation by TAs or the course instructor.

Assessment 2 – Case study presentation (20%)

In small groups, students will apply knowledge learned in course modules as well as conduct their own research to solve a hypothetical toxicology problem. Groups will be presented with symptoms and will need to determine the cause, mechanisms of toxicity, and how this problem can be treated. Students will present their case study in group PowerPoint-type presentations. As part of this assessment, students will participate in peer assessment.

Assessment 3 – Module tests (30%)

Upon the completion of each module (a total of three), students will be write short tests, ensuring comprehension of the material covered in each module. These questions will consist of short or long answer questions, focusing on integration of material as opposed to strict memorization. Each test will be worth 10%.

Assessment 4 – Popular News Topic Analysis (20%)

Working individually, students will select a popular news topic (ie: in popular magazines, newspapers, etc). Students will be expected to write a 1000 word report summarizing the news item and discussing its context in the field. Specifically, students will need to find primary literature addressing the same issue, and critically analyze the news report’s assessment of this topic.

Students will be required to participate in a TA-facilitated tutorial/discussion to facilitate peer feedback in the group assignment. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with the instructor through regular online “office hours”.

Required Texts

PHAR 380 course notes via modules posted online

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for PHAR 380 Drug and Environmental Toxicology, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.