Toxicology (2020)

University of Geneva

LocationGeneva, Lake Geneva region, Switzerland
Deadline31 July 2020

18 September 2020 will be ONLINE

 Introduction to the MAS Toxicology and Module 1 Kickoff Meeting will be held ONLINE only.

CHF 10’900.-  for the programme
CHF 1’100.- for those attending the practical part of Module 4


Special fee for individual modules

Provide specialized education and training in toxicological sciences and risk assessment with a focus on human toxicology, leading to a recognized academic qualification.

Graduate employed in a toxicological field who wishes to obtain a recognized academic qualification in toxicology.
Graduate with a Master's degree in medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, biochemistry, chemistry, biology or a diploma deemed as equivalent.

Prof. Caroline SAMER and Dr Marc FATHI, University of Geneva
Administrative coordinator:
Mrs Amita SEHMI GUIGOZ, University of Geneva

Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT) o Universities of Basel, Lausanne and Zürich o Centre of Competence in Analytic Chemistry and Toxicology (CCCTA) o Swiss Society of Toxicology o Swiss Register of Toxicologists o Centre Ecotox, eawag/EPFL

The Master of Advanced Studies in Toxicology provides a comprehensive educational programme recognized by national and international professional bodies as a postgraduate academic qualification in toxicology. It is designed to fulfill the needs of recently graduated students who are already in employment and potential employers in industry, academia and regulatory bodies.

The assessment of the potential risk of chemicals and pharmaceuticals to which humans and the environment are exposed provides the necessary basis for protection measures. This increasingly complex process has created a demand for qualified scientists in industry, academia and regulatory bodies with the appropriate knowledge, experience and professional qualification.

The MAS in Toxicology was initiated in 2010 by the Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT) as part of its mandate to promote education and continued professional development in this important discipline. The curriculum has been developed by the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne (Ecole de Pharmacie Genève-Lausanne). The master is part of an educational platform of collaboration with the Universities of Zürich and Basel, the Swiss Society of Toxicology, the Swiss Register of Toxicologists, the Centre of Competence in Analytic Chemistry and Toxicology (CCCTA), the Centre for Ecotoxicology (eawag/EPFL), regulatory authorities, and the pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

The curriculum is designed to comply with the regulations for toxicological training set by the Swiss Register of Toxicologists1 and EUROTOX2. Successful completion of the course may be used towards fulfillment of the requirements for professional registration as a toxicologist.

Prof. Bernard Rossier (coordinator), Dr Michelle Rossier (coordinator), Dr Marie-Christine Broillet (coordinator), Prof. Thierry Buclin, Dr Stephan Kellenberger

This module gives the basic concepts of general toxicology: pharmaco- and toxicokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, bioavailability, absorption rate constant, half-life, volume of distribution, clearance, area under the curve), toxicodynamics or mechanistic toxicology (non receptor and receptor mediated mechanisms, binding, dose- response relationship, potency versus efficacy, agonism, antagonism, synergy, potentiating, tolerance, sensitization), basic principles of toxicology (administration or exposure routes, role of metabolites, accumulation, characteristics of toxic effects, toxicity targets). Descriptive toxicology presents an overview of the effects of the main toxic agents which will be further developed in different modules.

Part A: 18 September 2020

Exam Part A: 2 November 2020

Exam Part B: 12 January 2020

This module in e-learning format and face-to-face lectures, is divided into two parts that can be followed independently. Part A must be passed (multiple choice questions) in order to attend any other module. The evaluation of Part B is based on students’ written assignments and oral presentations (article or case). The final mark is a combination of marks A and B. Module 1A costs 750 CHF. Module 1B costs 750 CHF.

This module describes the metabolic pathways involved in the biotransformation of xenobiotics leading to poisonous compounds, detoxification or producing toxic intermediates, as well as their circadian control. The students will learn to interpret methods to quantify or predict cytochrome P450 activities. Toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic principles and physiologically based toxicokinetic modelling will be presented. The student will be able to understand, describe and interpret the impact of gene polymorphisms on the safety of medications, drugs and environmental agents (toxicogenetics), as well as the technologies involved in their assessment. The present and the future use of genetic tests in pharmacogenetics / toxicogenetics will also be discussed. Finally, the role of toxicology in drug development will be described.

Course: 03-04-05-06.11.2020 and 07.12 2020

Exam: 08.12.2020

The evaluation of the module is based on a written exam (short open answer questions).

This transversal module is the largest module of the programme. Its content is linked to several other modules as it describes the basic physiology of liver, kidney, heart, lungs, brain and skin (this background knowledge will be delivered partly as e-learning), as well as their specific susceptibilities to toxicants. General mechanisms of toxicity, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, induction of apoptosis and necrosis, as well as mechanisms of toxicity specific to the different organs will be taught by internationally recognized researchers based on their expertise in these fields. As illustration of the adverse effects in the different organs, the toxic "signature" of some environmental toxicants or drugs will be analyzed.

Course: 09-10.12.2020 and 13-14-15.01.2021

Students’ Presentations: 02-03.03.2021

Exam 19.04.2020

The evaluation of this module is a combination of oral presentation and written exam (short open answer questions).

This technical module presents some important aspects in toxicological analysis including the matrices of interest and sample preparation methods prior to qualitative and/or quantitative determination. The most important analytical techniques (spectral or separation approaches) used for determining potential toxic substances in different matrices are presented, including hyphenation with mass spectrometry. Students will be able to choose and evaluate appropriate analytical tools related to toxicological situations.

This module is given in e-learning format and in face-to-face lectures.

Course: 04.03.2020

Exam: 04.10.2021

The evaluation of this module is divided into two parts. The first part consists of individual responses of thought questions related to scientific articles after the face-to face session. Questions are given on the e-learning platform (homework). The second part is an oral (individual) exam (15 minutes preparation and 15 minutes discussion) based on a critical analysis of a scientific article dealing with an analytical technique.

This course introduces the fundamentals of epidemiology and the principles of the statistical methods most frequently encountered in human toxicology. While it includes short formal presentations of concepts and techniques, emphasis is placed on their application to real data in toxicology. Seminars are held in a computer room, where hands-on sessions focus on conducting analyses and interpreting results. After completing this course, students should be able to identify basic study designs, appreciate the concepts of bias and confounding and understand principles of statistical methods, to interpret main results and to critically discuss the conclusions of many scientific publications in clinical toxicology. They should also be able to carry out simple data analyses using statistical software.

Course in Geneva: 20-21.04.2021 and 05-06-07.10.2020

Exam in Lausanne: 10.01.2022

The exam consists of presentation and discussion of a scientific article, focusing on statistical aspects. Completion of homework assignments proposed during the course is a prerequisite for participation in the exam.

In this module, the students will be able to understand the cellular and molecular basis underlying carcinogenesis and the multi-stage process of carcinogenesis, as well as teratogenesis. Moreover, they should be able to describe various factors, such as chemicals, tobacco and alcohol, radiation, viruses or the diet, which can cause/prevent carcinogenesis, as well as their mechanisms. The students will have a basic introduction to test strategies, focusing primarly on in vitro mutagenesis and in vivo models for chemoprevention. Finally, the students will practice organizing data and information from various areas of research impacting our understanding of carcinogenesis, and to critically discuss publications on these topics.

This module is given in e-learning format and in face-to-face lectures.

Course: 22-23.04.2021

Exam: 17.05.2021 and 14.06.2021 (to be confirmed)

The module is evaluated through individual paper presentations.

Endocrine disruptors and reproductive disorders caused by disrupting endocrine functions are current critical concerns. This course focuses on the biochemistry of hormones, their biosynthesis, their metabolism, their regulation, their measurement and their molecular mode of action at the level of receptors. Various endocrine systems are described in animals and humans, and physiological and pathophysiological contexts are presented, such as the consequences of given genetic mutations or of exposure to toxicants. The following topics are discussed by experts in the field, giving the students the opportunity to interact with them: endocrinology, receptors and cellular signaling, steroid hormones, reproductive function (including pregnancy, sexual differentiation and puberty, testis and ovary functions), thyroid function, hormone-dependent cancer, lipotoxicity and diabetes, neuroregulation of energy metabolism, chronobiology of endocrine systems, endocrine disruptors.

Course: 15-16-17-18.06.2021

Exam: 30.08.2021

The evaluation of this module is based on a written exam (short open answer questions).

In this module, students will learn methods of toxicological hazard and exposure assessment and how to apply them to risk characterization. Risk management, risk-benefit analysis, risk perception and communication will also be discussed. In addition, experts from federal authorities and industry will provide insights into the role of safety assessment in the regulation of human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, pesticides, cosmetics, food and food additives and industrial chemicals.

Course: 18-19-20-21.05.2021

Exam: 21.05.2021

The module is evaluated by a written exam (multiple choice questions).

Clinical toxicology is concerned with the adverse effects of drugs and other chemicals in humans and how to treat poisoning by such agents. The students will be able to understand, describe and interpret qualitative and quantitative aspects of intoxications and adverse drug reactions, with specific references to the harmful effects on individuals and specific vulnerable populations, as well as on the immune system (immunotoxicology) and be able to interpret laboratory tests. Based upon the principles of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, the students will be able to analyze intoxications and harmful drug effects such as major clinical toxicology syndromes and to establish general preventive and therapeutic measures.

Course: 31.08-01-02-03.09.2021

Exam: 03.09.2021

The evaluation of this module is based on a written exam (short open answer questions).

Food safety and occupational health are major concerns. The goal of the module is to identify the problems related to these issues and to assess the toxicological risk of toxicants present in food and in the workplace for consumers and workers, respectively. This module introduces basic concepts in occupational epidemiology, occupational exposure and risk assessment, and occupational risk management, in addition to describing typical occupational toxicants such as particles, nanoparticles, bioaerosols, gases, and vapors. Food toxicology encompasses nutritional toxicology, regulation and risk assessment, microbiology, natural toxins, contaminants, and toxicants resulting from technological processes. At the end of this module, students will have acquired the competencies related to the understanding of where, which, how and why toxicants are found in the workplace and in food.

Course: 07-08.10.2021 and 09-10-11-12.11.2021

The evaluation is based on individual student reports on a significant substance, relevant in industrial toxicology and epidemiology or food toxicology.

This module will enable participants to understand and to be able to apply ecotoxicological concepts to evaluate the risk and the impact of pollutants in the environment. In the theoretical part, they will learn about general principles of ecotoxicological testing for water, sediment and soil compartments. Statistical aspects (dose-response curves), risk assessment of single substances and mixture as well as risk management will also be addressed. During the practical part, participants will be trained in substance toxicity testing with daphnids and earthworms. They will learn how to estimate EC50 and NOEC and how to conduct risk assessment.

Course: 11-12-13-14.01.2022

Exam: 14.01.2022

The module is evaluated through a presentation based on the risk assessment procedure learned during the course.

This module profits from the world-renowned expertise of the University Center of Legal Medicine (CURML). Forensic toxicology (FT) deals with the study of behavioral and toxic effects of psychoactive, doping substances, harmful drugs or chemicals on humans and living systems in a medico-legal context. FT relies heavily on analytical toxicology for the screening of unknown molecules, their unequivocal identification and quantitative determination in biofluids, tissues and seized illegal narcotic substances. This course will provide a basic knowledge of doping and forensic toxicology. The content will be divided in different sections aiming to give a broad cover of the field. Students will have an overview of the main classes of drugs that are relevant in forensic toxicology, they will learn how to perform toxicological analyses of biological samples, and how to interpret their findings.

Course: 08-09-10-11.03.2022

Exam: 11.03.2022

Students are assessed by a written exam (theoretical and practical questions). They also have to discuss and interpret sample case data from routine practice in forensic toxicology.

This course is organized by the Network ResAL. It follows Swiss national regulation and requires work in animal experimentation. The module includes a theoretical part presenting the main aspects of the laboratory animal (anatomy, physiology, breeding, housing, enrichment and transport), as well as the knowledge and manipulations necessary for animal experimentation (anesthesia, pain assessment, diseases, allergies, identification of rodents, genetically modified animals and euthanasia). In addition, a reflection is proposed on ethics. The rules to obtain a permit for animal experimentation according to Swiss legislation are given. The practical part can only be followed by students performing or planning to perform animal experimentation. It allows handling of mice, rats and guinea pigs and teaches several manipulations described during the theoretical part, as well as perfusion and organ dissection.

Course and Exam: 07-08.04.2022 (dates to be confirmed)

100% attendance is required and the module is evaluated by a written exam (multiple choice questions).


This module introduces a promising alternative to animal experimentation: the 3D cultures. The students will acquire the basic knowledge on the different techniques and methods used to perform in vitro screening of toxic molecules and to replace classical animal experimentation. The models described are the 3D cultures as well as the stem cells (rodent/human origin), cell lines, primary cultures, slices and the Zebra fish. Such alternative methods allow a mechanistic understanding of the toxicity pathways, which will be useful for risk evaluation.

Course: 10-11-12.05.2022

Exam: 13.05.2022

The evaluation of this module is based on a practical work as well as a written exam (short open answer questions).

Master Thesis 30 ECTS Credits Prof. Martin Wilks The master thesis involves 14 weeks of research work in one of the areas of toxicology covered by the MAS programme.
This comprises carrying out the research itself (bibliographical research and practical work, which may or may not include an experimental part), writing up a report (thesis) and attending a viva voce (thesis oral defence) at the University of Geneva.
The thesis requires an original piece of work by the student which consists primarily of defining the topic, organizing the research, contributing new information or insights adding to the sum of knowledge in the chosen field, expressing a viewpoint and presenting a clearly written text.
The master thesis is carried out under the supervision of a director from a Swiss University appointed by the Board of Directors.
Admission to a master thesis project is open to students who have obtained sufficient credits to pass Module 1 (Basic principles in toxicology).
Attending the viva requires the successful completion of all course modules.

Bachelor in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology or equivalent + at least 3 years of professional experience in a field related to toxicology.

Prof. Eric Allémann, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Western Switzerland, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva
Prof. Jules Desmeules, President of the Board, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva
Prof. Antoine Geissbuhler, Vice Rector of the University of Geneva, Faculty of Medicine
Prof. Shana J. Sturla, Laboratory of Toxicology, ETH Zurich; Vice President of the Swiss Society of Toxicology
Prof. Aurélien Thomas, University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva; Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne; President of the Center of Competence in Toxicological and Analytical Chemistry (CCCTA)
Prof. Jean-Luc Veuthey, President of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva
Prof. Martin Wilks, Director, Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology

Dr Marc Fathi, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Western Switzerland, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva
Dr Hugo Kupferschmidt, Director, Tox Info Suisse, Affiliated Institute of the University of Zurich
Prof. Alex Odermatt, Division of Molecular and System Toxicology, University of Basel
PD Dr Michel Rossier, Head of Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology and Chief of Laboratories, Central Institute of Hospitals, Valais Hospital
Prof. Serge Rudaz, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Western Switzerland, Faculty of Sciences, University of Geneva
Prof. Caroline Samer, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva
PD Dr Thomas Singer, DABT, Global Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Roche Innovation Center, Basel

Module 1A CHF 750.- Basic Principles in toxicology A

Module 1B CHF 750.- Basic Principles in Toxicology B

Module 2 CHF 1’000.- Xenobiotic Metabolism, Toxicogenetics

Module 3 CHF 1’500.- Organ Toxicology

Module 4 CHF 500.- Analytical Toxicology

Module 5 CHF 600.- Biostatistics

Module 6 CHF 600.- Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis and Teratogenesis

Module 7 CHF 1’100.- Molecular Endocrinology

Module 8 CHF 750.- Risk Assessment and Regulatory Toxicology

Module 9 CHF 750.- Clinical Toxicology, Immunotoxicology

Module 10 CHF 750.- Epidemiology, Food and Industrial Toxicology

Module 11 CHF 750.- Ecotoxicology

Module 12 CHF 750.- Forensic Toxicology

Module 13.1 CHF 100.- Animal Experimentation (theory)

Module 13.2 CHF 1’100.- Animal Experimentation (practical)

Module 14 CHF 600.- Alternatives to Animal Experimentation

University of Basel, University of Lausanne, University of Zürich, Swiss Center for Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT), Centre de Compétence en Chimie et Toxicologie Analytiques (CCCTA), Swiss Society of Toxicology, Swiss Register of Toxicologists, Centre Suisse d'Écotoxicologie Appliquée (Eawag-EPFL)

Les termes utilisés pour désigner des personnes sont pris au sens générique; ils ont à la fois la valeur d’un masculin et d’un féminin.

In your contacts, please refer to
and reference