Aug 12, 2022  
2021-2022 General Catalog 
2021-2022 General Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: To search archives, use search box above. See current catalog at

Toxicology (Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences) - PhD

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Director: Roger A. Coulombe, Jr.
Location: Animal Science 213
Phone: (435) 797-1600
FAX: (435) 797-1601

Degrees offered: Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Toxicology

Graduate Programs

Established in 1962, USU’s Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Toxicology is one of the first degree-granting graduate toxicology programs in the country. More than 150 students have received MS and PhD degrees through this research-intensive interdisciplinary program. Students affiliate with the program through one of several departments: Animal, Dairy and Veterinary  Sciences (ADVS); Biology (BIOL); Chemistry and Biochemistry (CAB); Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE); or Plants, Soils, and Climate (PSC). The USDA Poisonous Plants Laboratory also provides facilities and research projects for study.

Admission Requirements

Students with a degree in life sciences, physical science, medical science, or engineering and with adequate preparation in chemistry, biology, physics, and/or mathematics are encouraged to  apply. Admission to the program requires compliance with the general admission requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, a faculty sponsor, and acceptance into the sponsoring  professor’s home department. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 from completed degree programs. International students must receive a minimum TOEFL score of 250.

Major Research Areas

Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology

Modern molecular biological techniques are used to determine the mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenesis by examining how various natural and synthetic compounds interact with the cellular genome and epigenome. Resultant mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are being investigated. Other ongoing studies examine the mechanisms of cancer chemoprevention, chemical metabolism, effects of toxicants on macromolecular syntheses, and metabolic  intermediates. A comprehensive research program in poisonous plants is another program emphasis at the USDA-ARS Poisonous Plants Laboratory, just north of the USU campus.

Environmental Toxicology

Utah State University has a comprehensive research program in several aspects of environmental toxicology. For example, Utah State University faculty pioneered the use of white-rot fungi to degrade environmental contaminants. Several members of the faculty study the effects of air pollution on human health, as well as develop models to predict episodes of high particulate matter. Models are developed and tested for dealing with the migration of chemicals in the environment, especially those with potential routes for human exposure. Basic biological, chemical, and physical methods are explored for hazardous waste management programs.

Financial Assistance

Graduate students are eligible for competitive fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Out-of-state fees are waived, and in many cases, in-state fees are also waived.  Hourly employment, which often permits waiver of out-of-state fees, is also available.

The Toxicology Graduate Program participates in the WICHE Western Regional Graduate Degree Program (WRGP). Residents of participating states may enroll in this program without paying nonresident tuition. To facilitate this process, applicants should inform the Toxicology Program of their WRGP status upon application.

Course Requirements

Toxicology Program Faculty

Steven D. Aust, free radical toxicology and bioremediation (CAB)
Roger A. Coulombe, Jr., (Director) molecular and environmental toxicology, cancer chemoprevention, air pollution (ADVS)
William J. Doucette, fate of environmental chemicals, phytoremediation (CEE)
R. Ryan Dupont, biological waste treatment (CEE)
Jeffery O. Hall, veterinary toxicology (ADVS)
Ronald C. Sims, environmental engineering (CEE)

Research Professor
Darwin L. Sorensen, aquatic toxicology (CEE)

Associate Professors
Paul R. Grossl
, soil chemistry and phytoremediation (PSC)
Randy Martin, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution (CEE)

Assistant Professor
Abby Benninghoff, epigenetics, fetal basis of adult health and disease, carcinogenesis and cancer prevention, environmental toxicology (ADVS)

Collaborators at USDA Poisonous Plants Laboratory
Dale R. Gardner, natural product chemistry
Kip E. Panter, poisonous plants
James A. Pfister, behavioral toxicology
Bryan L. Stegelmeier, veterinary pathology
Kevin Welch, molecular toxicology

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences