The MIT training program in toxicology has been funded continuously by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences since 1975. This grant, ES07020, prepares scientists to make original research contributions regarding the impacts of hazardous chemicals, organisms and other environmental agents on human health. Our principal goal is to advance the training of the next generation of toxicologists who will work in academia, government and industry. Historically, we have emphasized the development and application of in vivo and in vitro experimental models designed ultimately to elucidate the molecular-, cellular- and tissue-based mechanisms underlying environmentally-induced disease. A particular area of recent emphasis has been the study of the synergisms that exist between chemical agents in the environment and inflammation by the innate or adaptive immune systems, sometimes in association with infectious biological agents (e.g., the 60-fold synergism between aflatoxin and hepatitis B virus in the etiology of human liver cancer). We also emphasize the development of chemical, biochemical, glycomic, proteomic and genomic tools that aid in health-hazard identification. In this latter area, we have been particularly active in the development of novel biomarkers that provide for detection and characterization of the adverse effects of environmental agent exposure.
This Training Program involves didactic courses, formal and informal seminars and other means of information exchange, as well as laboratory research projects utilizing appropriate model systems for problem definition and solution.