Environmental Toxicology

Here you can:

Investigate the
links between air
pollution and

Harness your passion for improving public health.
At DEOHS, you can:

factory blowing smoke
Study how the air we breathe affects the aging brain, cognitive decline and dementia risk (the PhD dissertation of Rachel Shaffer, pictured above)

Joe Lim in the lab
Explore the connections between chemical exposures early in life and the microbiome.

Why study environmental toxicology?

Environmental toxicologists study how chemicals affect human health and the environment, applying principles of biology, chemistry and epidemiology. Toxicologists predict where chemicals will end up in the environment and in our bodies, analyze the toxic impact of chemicals and monitor exposure limits to keep us and our environment healthy.

As a student in Environmental Toxicology, you will:

  • Choose to earn your MS, MS Applied or PhD degree.
  • Take common core courses introducing foundational concepts and skills, including: risk assessment, management and communication; assessment and management of exposures to environmental hazards; core principles of toxicology; and how to use a One Health approach to address complex challenges.
  • Learn how a wide range of toxicants (such as pesticides, metals, solvents, air pollutants, persistent organic pollutants and radiation) affect human health and gain skills in identifying, characterizing and controlling environmental hazards.
  • Complete a culminating experience (thesis, project or dissertation) showcasing your ability to integrate the skills you have learned to address an environmental or occupational health problem.
Joe Dempsey working in a lab

I’ve been impressed with the breadth and diversity of public health research projects and collaborations that students can participate in.

Joseph Dempsey,
PhD student in Environmental Toxicology
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Environmental Toxicology: Student research projects

Our faculty and research

Dr. Julia Cui headshot

We hypothesize that infant exposure to flame-retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) might increase the risk of diabetes by reducing beneficial substances made by gut microbes and increasing harmful substances.

Dr. Julia Cui,
Associate Professor 
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Research spotlight

A hand holding a lit cigarette.

Cadmium exposure and COVID-19

New research finds high levels of cadmium from smoking and certain foods are linked to more severe flu, pneumonia—and potentially, COVID-19

Portrait of Elaine Faustman with trees in the background

Sharing abundant knowledge

DEOHS Professor Elaine Faustman honored for her commitment to educating birth-defects researchers

Photo of Roundup herbicide product. Photo via Alamy.

Can Roundup cause cancer?

New study from DEOHS researchers finds exposure to commonly used weed killer increases risk of some cancers


Career pathways

Our Environmental Toxicology graduates work in the public and private sectors and in academia. Recent DEOHS graduates work as:

  • Senior Toxicologist at Boeing.
  • Public Health Toxicologist at the Oregon Health Authority.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
headshot of Tyler Nicholas

Alumni profile

I graduated with a core toxicology skill set, which I use daily to help our clients and guide them through the regulatory process.

Tyler Nicholas,
Toxicologist at Exponent, a scientific and engineering consulting firm
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