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BIOS2111: Introductory Toxicology (2013 - Semester 1)

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Unit: BIOS2111: Introductory Toxicology (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Intermediate
Faculty/School: Biomedical Science
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Ritchie, Helen
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Cumberland
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit of study will introduce students to the general principles of toxicology. Topics will include a study of chemical principles related to toxicology and the effects of toxic agents on various body systems. The assignments are of a practical nature and involve risk assessment and job analysis, with particular emphasis on the workplace.
Assumed Knowledge: Any Junior Biology unit of study
Lecturer/s: Dr Ritchie, Helen
Dr Oakes, Diana
A/Prof Huq, Fazlul
Dr Willis, Catherine
Dr Hegedus, Elizabeth
Timetable: BIOS2111 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 12
2 Practical Work 2.00 2
T&L Activities: 2hr lectures/week, 2hr practicals

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

1. Name a molecule that is essential for life and yet toxic

2. Define and give examples of free radicals

3. Define and give examples of xenobiotics

4. Write a short note on carbon monoxide

5. Define the terms: molarity, ppm and ppb and carry out concentration expressed in one unit into another.

6. Briefly describe toxicity due to: Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium, Aluminium, Mercury, Nickel, Chromium

7. Define and give examples of ligands

8. Define and give examples of complex compounds

9. Briefly describe different types of reactions of the ultimate toxicant with target molecule

10. Briefly describe Phase I and Phase II biotransformation

11. Understand what is meant by dose-response

12. Understand the influence of absorption on toxicity

13. Understand the influence of excretion and elimination on toxicity

14. Understand how to analyse and evaluate environmental hazards in the workplace.

15. Describe the hepatic system response to different toxins

16. Describe how the kidney responds to different systems

17. Describe the ways in which the neurological system respond to different toxins

18. Describe the respiratory system response to different toxins

19. Describe how the skin responds to different toxins

20. Describe the cardiovascular system response to different toxins

21. Describe how embryonic development is affected by different toxins

22. Describe non-organ specific toxicity via mechanisms of genetic toxicity.

23. Describe the ways in which the blood responds to different toxins
Assessment Description: assignment (60%), end semester exam (40%)


This unit of study has two main outcomes (i) to provide a basic background in toxicology and (ii) to develop analytical skills in applying this knowledge. The assessments reflect these aims.

Our experience has shown that students with little or no background in the topics covered in this unit need to work steadily at understanding, because so much of the later semester work is building on material covered in the early weeks. It takes some time for all the pieces to come together. Because of this, there are a number of online quizzes. While these contribute 10% to your final mark, their greatest value lies in encouraging consistent work throughout the semester. Assessments carrying marks (summative assessment) follow in Week 15/16. The online practice quizzes also give students who have some background the opportunity to assess what they do already know, and the areas where they need to focus more strongly.

Online summative quizzes and written MCQ exam questions are designed to test both factual knowledge of relevant material and critical analysis.

The second aim is achieved by completion of assignments in two applied areas –risk assessment/evaluation and risk . This outcome is supported by tutorials.

A word of general advice…

You will find it very difficult to reach a satisfactory standard if you leave your study until the last minute. Only if you learn your work as it is presented will you be able to use the simple early material to assist in understanding the more complex later material. Data gathered and analysed in this subject over many years clearly indicate a significantly poor performance for students who do not study in an organised, regular manner

There are 2 types of assessments:

1. FORMATIVE assessment, ie assessment that provides ongoing feedback on your progress, not centrally recorded and administered in the following ways:

1) Worksheets:

* are submitted on-line throughout the semester.

* model answers will be provided after submission date (so you can then mark your own worksheet).

2) Risk assessment tutorial 2 will provide a venue for discussion of your first draft of the assignment.

3) Discussion of answers with peers.

4) Sample examination questions and answers on the webct site.

2. SUMMATIVE assessment, centrally recorded, consists of quizzes (10%), two assignments (50%) and an end of semester exam (40%):

* Assignments

The following assignments are submitted on-line during the semester:

1) Risk Evaluation (25% of final grade)

DUE DATE: 5pm Friday Week 7

2) Task Analysis (25% of final grade) GROUP WORK

DUE DATE: 5pm Friday Week 13

IMPORTANT: Coversheets are required for each submitted Assignment before submitting on-line. A template can be found on eLearning (WebCT) site. Assignments will not be marked unless coversheet attached.

* End-Semester Exam (held in Week 15/16)

A 2 hour long written exam containing multiple choice questions and short answer questions, worth 40%, in Week 15/16. This examination will cover all LECTURE topics. Venue and formal seat allocation will be found on the Faculty website. A detailed breakdown of the exam will be provided during the semester and placed on the eLearning site.
Assessment Feedback: * Feedback regarding performance in the assignment will be provided via the My Grades tool on the BIOS2111 eLearning site.
* Feedback on your performance may also be obtained by completing the online quizzes and checking your answers with the sample answers provided.
* A practice examination for the end semester will be made available on the eLearning site.


Deliberate breaches of academic honesty constitute academic misconduct. These breaches include:

* Engaging someone else to complete an assessment on one’s behalf
* Misconduct during supervised assessments

The penalties for academic misconduct may include:

* A mark of zero on the assessment
* A fail grade in the unit of study
* Additional assessment (including an unseen exam)
* Reference of the matter to the University Registrar

Issues concerning breaches of academic honesty may be dealt with either through the process of determining academic results in a unit of study, or, in the most serious cases, by invocation of misconduct procedures.

Students should consult:
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Prescribed Text/s: Note: Students are expected to have a personal copy of all books listed.
Online Course Content: An eLearning site has been created for this unit of study and contains:

* Lecture notes for each topic

* Additional resources for each topic (providing more detail than lecture notes)

* Worksheets

* Practical/Tutorial notes

* Practice questions for end semester examinations