This blog was authored by Nitin Verma, PhD.
Through the SOT International ToxScholar program, I met with undergraduate and postgraduate students and faculty of various institutes in Nepal in December 2019 and January 2020. I visited Vinayak College of Health Sciences, Kathmandu; Central Institute of Sciences and Technology, Kathmandu; and Crimson College of Technology Bhairahawa (Lumbani). I presented talks on a general introduction to toxicology, toxicology as a discipline, toxicology concepts, and careers in toxicology, emphasizing the key role of toxicologists in various diverse areas. I also interacted with undergraduate students in public health and led a session titled “Computational Toxicology, Epidemiology and Tools for Risk Assessment Modelling Using Software for Public Health.” More than 500 students and staff attended the session.
In each presentation, I introduced the discipline of toxicology and SOT, along with prospects of higher education/research and employment in toxicology. I tailored my talks to suit the attendees’ background and engaged them in discussions, asking questions and encouraging them to express their opinions.
The talk “Why Toxicological Studies and Risk Assessment Is Important” was based on some well-known case studies like the thalidomide tragedy and the recent reports of acrylamide in food products, which also served as an icebreaker for the audience. I also shared my research on various environmental pollutants and their impact on the environment, animals, and public health.
Participation was high; many of the students asked questions during and after these sessions and remained involved throughout the presentations.
I also briefly discussed the Tox21 and ToxCast program and various recent advancements in toxicological screening procedures adopted by various regulators. Topics included high-throughput screening, ’omics technology in toxicology, chemical signatures, endocrine-disruptor pathways, read-across, quantitative in vitro in vivo extrapolation, and organs-on-a-chip.
As an outcome of this trip, an understanding was reached for future interactions with these institutions for teaching via webinars and in person when visiting the city.
SOT supports toxicologists who make presentations at academic institutions in developing countries. More information is found on the SOT website. Begin planning now—the next deadline is October 9, 2020.