Environmental Health and Disease Course | Costa Rica Summer 2017

In this course, held at Universidad de Costa Rica in San Ramon, students will cover fundamental concepts relating to the adverse effects of naturally occurring, and anthropogenic chemical agents on living organisms, such as the occurrence and dose-response relationships of toxicants, the metabolism and action of toxicants, and the effects of selected environmental toxicants on different organ systems.

Many of these concepts will be reinforced through the use of case-studies where a pertinent chemical from Costa Rica’s environment is incorporated into the course. For example, we will study the extent of pesticides use in plantation production of bananas and sugar cane and how pesticides contaminate crocodiles in conservation areas in Costa Rica. Moreover, we will be speaking with experts in Costa Rica concerning the increase prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKDu) that has become prevalent in agricultural workers throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Dr. Jennifer Crowe, from UNA in Heredia, Costa Rica, will speak to the class concerning this deadly disease. Moreover, we will visit the Instituto Clodomiro Picardo where venoms are identified through GC-MS and how anti-venoms are made. We will also be able to see the captive venomous snakes and talk to Dr. Lomonte, who is one of the principle investigators at this institute.

Why take this summer course?

1)      Affordable study abroad opportunity – Room and board costs are minimal. Homestays during the four weeks are with Costa Rican families and cost $0.

2)      This course is an upper division biology course. The only pre-requisite is an introductory biology course.

3)      This course will include a trip to Instituto Clodomiro Picardo where snake venoms are analyzed and anti-toxins are made, as well as an invited presentation from scientists that study Chronic Kidney disease in Costa Rica (please see photos in the attached PowerPoint).

4)      The course will also include water sampling to determine the levels of coliform bacteria in different waterways and analysis of pathological tissues.

5)      The two weekend trips scheduled by USAC are included in the program cost and include a trip to the Cloud Forest as well as Tortuga Island.

Registration is open now until the end of April. If you have any questions, please contact Professor David Blake at blake_d@fortlewis.edu.

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