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PHM 980, Section 005 - Dose-response Relationships in Toxicology & Risk Assessment - Concepts, Complexities and Controversies


“The dose makes the poison!” This paraphrase from Paracelsus in the 1500s remains today the most important principle in toxicology.

Dose-response relationships underlie approaches to understanding toxicologic mechanisms and to assessing risk from exposure to environmental pollutants, drugs and other chemicals.

This course will begin with general information about dose-response terminology and concepts before delving into issues and implications surrounding the threshold concept, nonmonotonic dose-response relationships, hormesis, how dose-response characteristics are used in risk assessment, and more.

Enroll to learn about and discuss important nuances of dose-response and how they give rise to challenges and controversies in assessing risk from chemical exposure. This course will add to your sophistication as a thinker in biological science!


At least one graduate course in physiology, biochemistry/molecular biology. Completion of PHM 801/802 or equivalent is recommended but not required. Students who have not completed PHM 801/802 should contact a course moderator before enrolling.


Each student will be evaluated based on attendance, quality of assigned presentation(s) and participation in discussions.



Fall 2020 only at this time.



Fulfills the EITS Topics in Toxicology requirement.

Sections available