MEDSCI 306 : Principles of Toxicology

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Considers the principles and concepts that result in detrimental effects in animals and humans. It addresses: biochemical pathways and targets in the toxicity of chemicals, the effects at cellular, organ and whole body level, e.g., cell death, cancer and hypersensitivity, as well as the basis for cell and organ-selective toxicity. Drugs, occupational and environmental toxicants are discussed.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: MEDSCI 204 and 30 points from BIOSCI 203, MEDSCI 203, 205

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of why toxicity testing is required, how toxicity can be influenced by factors such as the dose and route of exposure; the effect of acute versus chronic exposure; the end-points selected and the importance of delayed effects. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of biological targets and the damage caused to such targets plus some of the ensuing changes at the level of organelle, cell, organ and organism. (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Discuss the relevance of non-clinical species to the prediction of human drug safety. (Capability 1 and 2)
  4. Apply scientific reasoning and methods to experimental design for assessment of chemical toxicity. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  5. Use critical evaluation to identify the essentials of scientific information in written reports and oral examination. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Demonstrate competency of a selected range of skills, including observation and measurement, an appreciation of variability, precision and inaccuracy, data analysis and interpretation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Mid-semester Test 10% Individual Test
Laboratories 25% Individual Coursework
Project 15% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Mid-semester Test
Final Exam

Learning Resources

PowerPoint files used for delivery of the lecture will be available through CANVAS. These may be abridged at the discretion of the lecturer.

Course Contacts

Course Director: Malcolm Tingle ext 84949
Course Coordinator: Deanna Bell ext 86950

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, a 3 hour practical laboratory, 1 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on laboratory reports, assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Lecturer will endeavour to stick to the script, not make jokes and keep the anecdotes down to  a minimum

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.