Aim of the course
Neurotoxicity refers to ‘any form of substance-induced dysfunction of the nervous system’. This broad definition already implies that neurotoxicity can be studied from many different perspectives, including neurobehavior, neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, neuropathology and neurochemistry. A large number of compounds is able to induce neurotoxicity, in particular when exposure occurs during early brain development. However, exposure to neurotoxicants can also occur later in life, e.g., at the work place or via food. The aim of this course is to familiarise participants with the consequences of neurotoxicity, mechanisms of neurotoxicity, and neurotoxicity testing methods and models.

Content of the course
The course consists of lectures, webinars and active classes during which examples of various categories neurotoxicants and their mechanisms and effects are discussed.
Topics include:

  • basics of neurotoxicology
  • cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicology
  • neurobehavioral toxicology
  • developmental neurotoxicology
  • neuropathology
  • human health effects of specific neurotoxicants (metals, pesticides, solvents, drugs)
  • regulatory neurotoxicity testing
  • alternative model systems for neurotoxicity testing
  • contribution of neurotoxicants to complex neurodevelopmental disorders and diseases

Course structure
The first 2 days of this course (Thu-Fri) consist of E-lectures and webinars by internationally recognized experts in the field of neurotoxicology. This part of the course is followed from your home location. The other 3 days of the course (Mo-Wed) include the exam and a case study and require your physical attendance at the course location.

Outcomes (competences, skills)
On successful completion of the course, participants should:

  • know the general principles of neurotoxicology
  • know the factors that influence the vulnerability of the nervous system to toxicants
  • know the mode of action of major (classes of) neurotoxicants
  • know the factors responsible for selective neurotoxic effects and how these may contribute to (human) neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders
  • know the state of the art of neurotoxicity testing, including alternative and innovative methods
  • be acquainted with regulatory aspects of neurotoxicity testing
  • be able to assess the neurotoxic hazard and risk of developmental, acute, chronic or occupational exposure to specific neurotoxicants.

Dr. R. Westerink (Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; coordinator)
Dr. H. Heusinkveld (Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Dr. A. Campbell1 (Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, USA)
Dr. A. Bal-Price1 (European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy)
Dr. H. Hogberg2 (John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA)
Prof.dr. M. Leist2 (Konstanz University, Konstanz, Germany)
Dr. F. Liu2 (FDA, Silver Spring, USA)
Prof.dr. P. Lein2 (UC Davis, Sacramento, USA)
Dr. C. van Thriel2 (Leibniz Research Centre, Dortmund, Germany)
Dr. L. Hondebrink (Dutch Poison Information Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Dr J. Cannon2 (Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA)
Dr. D. Rohlman2 (University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA)
Prof.dr. A. Kraneveld2 (Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Dr. M. Sobolewski2 (University of Rochester, Rochester, USA)
Dr. T. Shafer2 (EPA, Research Triangle Park, USA)
  1 Webinar
  2  E-lecture

The final grade of this course will be based on the result of a written exam and on the result of a case study.

Coordination: Dr. R.H.S. Westerink and Drs. A.M. Tukker
Duration:        5 days
ECTS credits:  1.5
Fee:                  see tuition fees (includes reduced fees for PhD students)
Location:         distant learning from home location and on-site classes at the Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University.

The course requires a minimum of 10 participants. In case this number is not achieved, the course will be postponed to the next edition.
For general inquiries please contact the PET Office

To apply please proceed to course registration and for questions please contact the PET Office

Last updated: 3-Feb-22