In addition to their research, an academic toxicologist can be responsible for various teaching activities, which take place mainly in universities and may be at many levels of difficulty, such as:
· Undergraduate lectures, practical sessions, seminars and tutorials
· Taught postgraduate courses (MSc)
· Supervision of postgraduate research students (MRes and PhD)
This means that the academic toxicologist comes into contact with a constantly changing group of students of all ages and backgrounds, and has the satisfaction of passing on knowledge and launching new toxicologists in their chosen careers.
There are increasing links between academia, industry and government in both teaching and research. Today, these institutions often work hand-in-hand so that discoveries by academic toxicologists can complement the more applied findings of industry, helping to protect the public and the environment. It’s increasingly common for both undergraduate and postgraduate students to spend time working in these industries as an integral part of their training.
Academic toxicologists may also serve on Government advisory committees, using their expert knowledge to offer independent advice on issues such as occupational or public health. Many companies also seek advice from expert academic toxicologists to review the risk assessments of their products.
By publishing data and disseminating knowledge, academic toxicologists try to gain a better understanding of how and why toxicity can occur. This knowledge can be used by industry and government to assess risk; for example, those posed by existing natural and man-made chemicals, and guide the design of new safer chemicals.
Ian has spent time studying for a PhD, then working as a Postdoc, and Nick has spent much of his career working as a researcher and lecturer. Douglas went to work for the Government as a regulatory toxicologist, before returning to academia to become a lecturer. Ruth started out in as a post doctoral researcher before moving into the pharmaceutical industry.