As the number of chemicals in commerce and the environment — currently estimated at more than 80,000 — continues to increase, many questions need to be answered about their safety. Toxicology helps find these answers through the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents on people, animals and the environment.
The NC State Toxicology program defines graduate training in toxicology by providing comprehensive coursework and research training to prepare prospective toxicologists and environmental health scientists for careers in academia, government and industry. We are located on the university’s technology-based Centennial Campus. Based on a strong history and foundation of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, graduate degrees in toxicology were first awarded at NC State University in 1979.
We have diverse research programs that investigate significant and cutting-edge problems including elucidating the relationships among cell signaling processes and toxicant/stressor-induced disease and toxicity, establishing mechanisms of system-specific toxicity, using physiological and genomic approaches to understand differences in species and individual susceptibility to environmental contaminants, and unraveling gene-environment interactions.
Ph.D. students can elect to concentrate in General Toxicology, Cell and Molecular Toxicology or Environmental Toxicology. Graduate programs leading to master’s (M.Tox. and M.S.) and doctoral degrees (Ph.D.) provide students the opportunity to pursue study that will prepare them for a range of career paths.
Graduate students majoring in toxicology must have an adequate background in biological and physical sciences or make up such deficiencies as may exist on recommendation of the director of graduate programs and/or the Graduate Students Advisory Committee.
Student Financial Support
The Toxicology program provides funding opportunities for qualified applicants to the graduate program through program and faculty-funded research assistantships and university and other fellowship programs. Supplemental funding is also available from the NC State Graduate School Diversity Programs for individuals from underrepresented groups who have been accepted into the Graduate Program in Toxicology. Additional information on sources of support for graduate studies can be found at the Graduate School website. Current support includes stipend, tuition and health insurance with the total compensation exceeding $25,000 per year. An overview of funding sources is here.
To be considered for support, applications should be completed by January 15 for fall semester. Typically, Ph.D. students enter the program with a research assistantship provided by training grant funds. Once the trainee is established in the mentor’s lab, the mentor assumes financial responsibility for the student. M.S. students typically secure a financial commitment from a mentor before matriculating. M.Tox. students are typically not funded by NC State or mentors.
Qualified applicants for the Ph.D. degree are invited to visit the NC State campus, where they will gain a global perspective of research training activities among program faculty and meet with faculty members who are actively soliciting new trainees. Once admitted, students are encouraged to contact faculty members with whom they are interested in training to schedule a rotation in the faculty member’s lab. Students are required to rotate in at least three laboratories (five-week rotations) before deciding who to train with. Students inform the director of graduate programs of their first and second choices for a mentor/lab, and he or she secures a mentor for the student.
Alumni and Career Opportunities
Graduates from our program go on to a number of exciting and prestigious opportunities. Here are some examples.
- Ellen Glista, Ph.D., Senior Associate, Toxicology, SC Johnson
- Brian Sayers, Ph.D., Research Toxicologist, Dupont
- Justin Conley, Ph.D., ORISE Postdoc Fellow, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Erin Kollitz, Ph.D., Postdoc, Duke University
- September Mihaly, Ph.D., Regulatory Writer, Synchrogenix
- Monica Poteat, Ph.D., Medical Science Writer/Editor, Education & Training, Systems International
- Renee Beardslee, Ph.D., Toxicologist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Kimberly Herman, Ph.D., Medical Writer, Quintiles
- Kelly Shipkowski, Ph.D., IRTA Postdoctoral Fellow, National Toxicology Program
- Alicia Simmons, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- Crystal Lee Pow, Ph.D., Environmental Program Consultant, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services