Needed: Information on working as a toxicologist

Kathleen Guger k-guger at ski.mskcc.org
Mon Jul 3 11:07:55 EST 1995

I worked briefly in the toxicology division of a wildlife research 
center operated by the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.  I'm not sure 
about what kind of positions are available in Europe and Canada, but I 
can tell you a little about what I did and answer at least one of your 
questions (the one about toxin tests on animals).

I did enzyme assays on liver samples taken from water fowl from "clean" 
and "contaminated" sites.  We were trying to determine if the level of 
certain enzymes would correlate with the presence of certain organic 
contaminants (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) with the eventual hope of being 
able to use this as a marker for how far such compounds have spread in 
the wild.  The first phase of the experiment involved dosing mallard 
ducks with known amounts of PAHs.  Other groups in the center were 
studying the effect of PCBs on raptors and were dosing kestral chicks 
with various compounds.  I guess this would be considered 
eco-toxicology, but many of the staff had degrees in other feilds (such 
as biochemistry or embryology).  Most of the field workers (the people 
that brought me my liver samples) had B.S. degrees in environmental 
science, ecology or the like.  I got the impression that government jobs 
of this sort are tough to come by.  I don't know about Hospital 
toxicology and as I already mentioned I don't know about Europe/Canada.  
I went to one toxicology conference while I was working on this job and 
I'll dig out the information/address of the toxicology society that 
sponsored it if you'd like.

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