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Widely used ‘Textbook of Modern Toxicology’ now in fourth edition

A widely used textbook long associated with toxicology at N.C. State University has recently been published in its fourth edition. A Textbook of Modern Toxicology, released in its newest edition in June, is edited by Dr. Ernest Hodgson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Dr. Ernest Hodgson

The first edition of the text was published in 1987 (two years before the CALS Department of Toxicology was founded) and was edited by Hodgson and Dr. Patricia E. Levi, who both taught toxicology at N.C. State. Hodgson became sole editor following Levi’s retirement and starting with the third edition in 2004.

“The original idea was to have a teacher/student-friendly textbook for use at the senior or, more particularly, the beginning graduate level,” Hodgson says.

Although the text is modeled somewhat after the syllabus for the general toxicology course, Hodgson says, “It was more detailed and more comprehensive to allow teachers at other universities discretion in what to include in their courses. Further, it was designed to provide a basis for more advanced courses in programs leading to the Ph.D. in toxicology.”

Hodgson authored or co-authored one-third of the chapters, but he also mentions that “other members of the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology have contributed greatly as chapter authors, as well as some of our adjunct faculty and alumni.”

The latest edition of the text “has continued to expand in scope and has kept pace with new developments in toxicology,” Hodgson says. “New to the fourth edition is a set of sample questions with each chapter, the answers being made available to teachers who use the text.”

While reviews of the fourth edition are not yet in, “earlier editions received very positive reviews,” says Hodgson. “We know it has been quite widely used, not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy. In fact, various editions of it or its companion text have been translated into Chinese, Japanese and Italian.”

Publisher John Wiley and Sons (, describes the text as “a unique resource that provides both students and practitioners with a wide-ranging, accessible overview of the discipline. Suitable for courses in environmental, pharmacological, medical and veterinary toxicology, this essential text features chapters written by experts who address a range of key topics.”

The Wiley site notes that the fourth edition “includes additional chapters on new approaches to toxicology … and continues the legacy of its predecessors to provide up-to-date insights into acute toxicity and chemical carcinogenesis, organ toxicity, in-vitro and in-vivo toxicity testing, ecological risk assessment and many other areas of toxicology that help foster a solid comprehension of the field.”

Hodgson is also one of the editors of the advanced-course textbook Molecular and Biochemical Toxicology (which is in its 4th edition), is one of the authors of An Introduction to Biochemical Toxicology and serves as the editor of the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology and Macmillan’s Dictionary of Toxicology. – Terri Leith