Environmental Toxicology and Epidemiology Training Grant - Curriculum

Supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Responsible Conduct of Research

All trainees -- predoctoral and pospostdoctoral -- are required to participate in both training and coursework on responsible conduct of research.

This includes online certification training through the University PEERRS system as well as classroom training.  The following modules are required:

  • Conflict of Interest
  • Research Practice Foundations
  • Research Administration
  • Human Subjects - Biomedical & Health
  • Authorship
  • Animal Care & Use (only required for trainees working with animals)

This training is required regardless of previous training.

To meet the coursework requirement for responsible conduct of research, predoctoral and postdoctoral students complete training in Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) which includes face-to-face sessions discussing 8 topics on ethics in research.

Predoctoral Curriculum

Predoctoral trainees specialize in either environmental molecular epidemiology or mechanistic toxicology. Because this program aims to provide transdisciplinary research training in which mechanistic toxicology and environmental epidemiology inform each other, predoctoral trainees are required to take a foundation course and an advanced course in the non-specialization area. In addition, trainees take a common core curriculum that includes coursework in translational research and bioinformatics.

The training grant course requirements described here are in addition to EHS department course requirements.

Foundation Course in Toxicology

EHS 602 Essentials of Toxicology (3 credits, Fall Term)
This course examines basic concepts of occupational and environmental toxicology, including uptake, distribution, metabolic conversion, and elimination of toxic agents, as well as the fundamental models used to describe the interaction of xenobiotic agents with biological systems. The course focuses on the application of these concepts to the assessment of exposures, estimates for risk of disease, establishment of appropriate limits on exposures and ambient levels of toxic materials/agents, and understanding and prevention of mortality and morbidity resulting from environmental exposure to toxic substances through a case study format.

Foundation Course in Epidemiology

Select one (1) of the following:

EPID 503 Strategies and Uses of Epidemiology (3 credits, Winter Term)
An introduction to the principles, concepts, and methods of population-based epidemiologic research. It is intended to be the introductory course for students who are NOT majoring in Epidemiology. The course will be divided into three primary sections. The first section will serve as an introduction to the basic principles of epidemiology and the measures used in epidemiology. The second section will discuss epidemiologic study design (including case-control, cohort studies) and analysis (including bias, confounding, effect modification). The third section will cover special topics that are important to an introductory understanding of epidemiology (including outbreak investigations, screening, and the role of epidemiology in public health.

EPID 601 Principles and Methods in Epidemiology (4 credits, Fall Term)
A comprehensive course in the basic concepts, principles, and methods of population-based epidemiologic research, which serves as a foundation for subsequent courses in epidemiology, biomedical research, and quantitative methods. Class topics expand on those covered in Epid 600. Emphasis is given to study design, quantitative measures, statistical analysis, data quality, sources of bias, and causal inference. The general approach of this course is both theoretical and quantitative, focusing on the investigation of disease etiology and other causal relations in public health and medicine.

Options for Advanced Coursework in Toxicology for Epidemiology Specialization

Select one (1) of the following:

EHS 616 Toxicologic Pathology (2 credits, Fall Term)
Chemical-induced pathologic outcomes on mammalian cells, tissues and organs with an emphasis on methods used for investigative toxicologic pathology; integration of toxicologic mechanisms and pathologic outcomes. Lectures, student-led discussions and slide-reading sessions.

EHS 660 Environmental Epigenetics and Public Health (2 credits, Winter Term)
This course examines principles and applications of epigenetics as they relate to human nutrition, environmental exposures and disease etiology, including mechanisms and policy implications. Case studies evaluate processes using animal and human examples drawn from the literature. Students will be introduced to laboratory methods and emerging technologies for examining epigenetics

Options for Advanced Coursework in Epidemiology for Toxicology Specialization

Select one (1) of the following:

EHS 608 Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits, Winter Term)
An introduction to topics in environmental epidemiology, covering major areas of current inquiry in this field. It will convey the basic tools required to critically read the literature and to develop appropriate study designs in light of intended applications. Topics include lectures on methodology and major environmental exposures, discussions based on review and critiques of current literature, and presentations by outside experts on specific environmental epidemiology issues of current interest, followed by primary instructor-led discussion on the paper.

EHS 657 Advanced Exposure Assessment (3 credits, Winter Term)
Introduction to classical, contemporary, and cutting-edge approaches to the estimation of human exposure to environmental and occupational agents as it relates to epidemiology studies as well as risk science, regulatory compliance, exposure source/route apportionment, and susceptibility factors. Qualitative and quantitative methods in exposure science will be covered, including surrogate measures, exposure modeling, and biological markers of exposure, in addition to statistical concepts such as exposure measurement error and efficient study design.

EPID 675/EHS 675 Data Analysis for Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits, Winter Term)
Introduction to non-parametric smoothing methods, such as splines, locally weighted polynomial regression (LOESS) and generalized additive models (GAM), and focus on continuous environmental exposure variables. It will also deal with analysis of correlated data, including longitudinal analysis and time-series analysis that are widely used in environmental epidemiology. It will provide an opportunity to analyze actual population data to learn how to model environmental epidemiologic data, and is designed particularly for students who pursue environmental epidemiologic research. R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, will be used.

Bioinformatics

Select one (1) of the following:

BIOINFO 527 Introduction to Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (4 credits, Fall Term)
Introduction to the fundamental theories and practices of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology via a series of integrated lectures and labs. These lectures and labs will focus on the basic knowledge required in this field, methods of high-throughput data generation, accessing public genome-related information and data, and tools for data mining and analysis. The course is divided into four areas: Basics of Bioinformatics, Computational Phylogeny (includes sequence analysis), Systems Biology and Modeling.

BIOINF 545/BIOSTAT 646/STATS 545 High-Throughput Molecular Genomic and Epigenomic Data Analysis (3 credits, Winter Term)
The course will cover basic analysis of microarrays, RNA-Seq, and ChIP-Seq data including hands-on lab sessions. The class also covers an introduction to the underlying biology and the technologies used for measuring RNA levels, transcription factor binding and epigenetic modifications, and quality control of microarray and deep sequencing data. Topics: technologies, experimental design, data preprocessing, normalization, quality control, statistical inference (group comparisons, peak detection), multiple comparison adjustments, power calculations, clustering, functional enrichment testing.

For More Information:

Saskia Berrious-Thomas
Environmental Toxicology and Epidemiology Program
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
1415 Washington Heights
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029
Phone: 734-936-0749
saskiabt@umich.edu