2013-14 General Bulletin

This is an archived copy of the 2013-14 bulletin. To access the most recent version of the bulletin, please visit http://bulletin.case.edu.

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Room W-G19, School of Medicine
Phone: 216.368.5961; Fax: 216.368.3194
Dorr G. Dearborn, PhD, MD, Chair

Ariann Richner , Department Assistant

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences is devoted to the study of the fundamental mechanisms responsible for disease processes initiated or aggravated by environmental agents. Indoor and outdoor environments consist of complex interacting systems. These systems require the development of new approaches to understanding the basis of their action. Current research interests of the faculty include chemical and environmental carcinogenesis, genetic and reproductive toxicology, cytogenetics, radiation biology, and clinical and forensic toxicology.

The Department of Environmental Health Sciences offers the MS degree and an MD/MS program for students who have received formal acceptance to the School of Medicine and are interested in expanding their training in the area of environmental health sciences. This program allows students to complete the requirements for both degrees within a four-year period.  

MS Environmental Health Science

The Master of Science degree program is designed to increase the student’s knowledge of environmental health science as well as to provide a firm foundation in the life sciences. The program is multidisciplinary and emphasizes cancer biology, environmental toxicology, and nutrition and toxicology. It is based on a core classroom curriculum in the biological sciences, including biochemistry, biostatistics, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, epidemiology, and toxicology.


Applicants must complete a CWRU Graduate Application. Tuition or stipends will not be provided for the master of science program (no additional tuition is required for enrolled medical students).

Degree Requirements

Currently, a student can obtain a MS with a thesis based on an individual research project [Plan A] or may obtain a MS based solely on course work and a comprehensive exam [Plan B]. Both degrees require completion of 27 semester hours of credit. Under Plan A, up to 9 of the 27 semester hours can be obtained through research. Students also prepare a written thesis and complete an oral defense for a Plan A Degree.  Completion of a Plan B, MS Degree, requires satisfactory performance on a written comprehensive exam taken after the student has finished their 27 hours of coursework.  Also, for Plan B, it's recommended that the student take CBIO 453 Cell Biology I & CBIO 455 Molecular Biology I [8 Credits] or BIOC 407 Introduction to Biochemistry: From Molecules To Medical Science [4 Credits] & BIOC 408 Molecular Biology [4 Credits].   

Of the 27 semester hours of coursework required for the MS degree, 9 hours of credit are fulfilled by the EVHS Core Curriculum. This Core Curriculum is comprised of three 3 credit courses: EVHS 429 Introduction to Environmental Health, EVHS 401 Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology and EVHS 402 Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment. Finally, as part of the 12 credits of Core Courses, a student must take a Statistics course of their choosing (must be approved by the Department).  Past examples include: EPBI 441 Theory of Linear Models, with Applications Biostatistics I (3 Credits), EPBI 414 Introduction to Statistical Computing (3 credits) or EPBI 431 Statistical Methods I (3 credits).   

The required course list is as follows:

Course List

EVHS 401Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology3
EVHS 402Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment3
EVHS 405Effects of Exposure to Env Toxins3
EVHS 429Introduction to Environmental Health3
EVHS 435Environmental Health Law and Policy3
EVHS 502Genetic Toxicology II: DNA Damage and Repair3
EVHS 506Independent Study in Environmental Health Sciences1 - 6
EVHS 510Molecular Oncology3
EVHS 651Master's Thesis Research1 - 9


EVHS 401. Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Biochemical Toxicology. 3 Units.

This course details the fundamentals of biochemical toxicology. Specific topics include oxidation-reduction reactions, Phase I and II xenobiotic metabolism and mechanisms of cellular toxicity. Also, this course focuses on pharmacology. General principles of pharmacology, drug transport and absorption, drug metabolism, neuropharmacology, immunopharmacology and pharmacokinetics are discussed.

EVHS 402. Fundamentals of Environmental Health Sciences: Risk Assessment. 3 Units.

This course presents an overview of the scientific approaches used to determine whether environmental agents are potentially dangerous to people. In this course, criteria utilized for establishing exposure limits is presented. A variety of assays which can be employed to assess the impact of environmental exposure on normal and genetically susceptible individuals are studied. These include: numerous animal tests, short term toxicity and mutagenicity tests, functional assays, molecular techniques to delineate mechanisms of action, epidemiology studies and controlled clinical trials. Recommended preparation: EVHS 429.

EVHS 405. Effects of Exposure to Env Toxins. 3 Units.

This course provides an introduction to toxic agents found in the environment and presents an overview of chemical and physical agents which have acute toxic and/or genotoxic effects on cells. Toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity and the potential for exposure to these agents through environmental, occupational and medicinal routes are discussed. This topic will be covered at both the molecular and the clinical level. Discussion of clinical cases will be included. Prereq: EVHS 401 and EVHS 402.

EVHS 429. Introduction to Environmental Health. 3 Units.

This is a survey course of environmental health topics including individual, community, population, and global issues. Introduction to risk management, important biological mechanisms, and age and developmental impacts are covered in an overview fashion. A practical inner city home environment experience is included. Offered as EVHS 429 and MPHP 429.

EVHS 435. Environmental Health Law and Policy. 3 Units.

This course will introduce students to environmental law and policy, with a focus on federal environmental law. The goal of the course is to enable students to understand the distinctive characteristics of a regulatory agency, where scientific insights must be channeled through the paths set out by law. Students will consider how federal statutes are implemented through agency regulations, and the role of courts in overseeing the regulatory process. Substantive statutes we will consider include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the regulation of hazardous wastes and the cleanup of contaminated sites, and a range of federal statutes regulating chemical manufacturing/use and the workplace. The course includes an overview of the common law concepts of torts and nuisance. Prereq: EVHS 429 or permission of instructor.

EVHS 502. Genetic Toxicology II: DNA Damage and Repair. 3 Units.

This course provides an in-depth consideration of agents which alter DNA directly or indirectly through effects on its synthesis and examines the mechanisms and repair processes through which cells respond to this damage. The class consists of formal lectures which introduce each topic, and analysis of up-to-date literature on topics representative of major current areas of interest in this field. Topics covered include fidelity of DNA replication, excision repair, mismatch repair, transcription-linked repair, SOS repair and recombinational repair. Other DNA damage responses controlling decision points between DNA repair and apoptosis are also considered. Agent-specific DNA damage, such as that caused by agents leading to bulky adducts, AP sites, base-base mismatches and damage to DNA bases, are considered in the context of specific repair processes responding to these DNA insults in procaryotes and eukaryotes. Recommended preparation: EVHS 401 and 402.

EVHS 506. Independent Study in Environmental Health Sciences. 1 - 6 Unit.

EVHS 510. Molecular Oncology. 3 Units.

This course explores the role of environmental factors in causing alterations in cellular mechanisms which lead to cancer. Emphasis is placed on genetic and other regulatory alterations leading to cell transformation. The possible role of oncogenes and suppressor genes in these processes and the mechanisms through which chemotherapy and immunotherapy manifest toxicity for cancer cells are considered.

EVHS 651. Master's Thesis Research. 1 - 9 Unit.

EVHS 701. Dissertation Ph.D.. 1 - 9 Unit.

(Credit as arranged.) Prereq: Predoctoral research consent or advanced to Ph.D. candidacy milestone.