About the Department

Research at the Junction of Environmental Health and Microbiology

Research in the Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department (METX) at U.C. Santa Cruz seeks to clarify how environmental poisons and pathogens harm humans and other living things. There is no other program in the world that unites researchers studying the interplay between abiotic toxins, microbes and health. These studies are by nature multidisciplinary and, thus, METX department members are passionate contributors to multidisciplinary efforts that cross departmental and university boundaries. Many of our collaborative efforts involve UCSC's internationally recognized Institute for Marine Sciences, as well as the California Institute for Quantitative Biology. [link to research]


METX faculty members have received numerous honors—including prestigious awards as new investigators, Fulbright fellowships for international collaborative work, and membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The METX faculty has also been nationally recognized for scholarly productivity, ranking third in the nation according to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index. All department members benefit from the low student-faculty ratio and collegial environment.

Outstanding Training Programs

The METX department grants both Ph.D. and masters degrees. Graduate training in METX prepares students to solve important problems in the field of environmental health by providing stimulating coursework, extensive scientific presentation training, and in-depth research that culminates in a thesis. In addition, members of the department also participate in graduate training offered by UCSC's Program in Biomedical Science and Engineering. For all graduate students, a low student-faculty ratio helps create outstanding synergy between graduate students and their advisors, inspiring department members to attack pressing issues in environmental and human health.  Our students are top-notch and a cornerstone of our department. They frequently receive high-profile fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (DOE SCGF), UCSC's Eugene Cota Robles Fellowship, and the ARCS foundation.

METX also sponsors undergraduate courses in microbiology and environmental toxicology. [more information on courses here]

The UCSC Campus

The UCSC campus includes 2000 acres of redwood forests and meadows with a breathtaking overviews of the city of Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay. The METX Department is housed in the newly-built Physical Sciences Building, which is shared with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department Biomolecular Engineering. The building is located on "Science Hill" at the heart of UCSC campus and within walking distance of all other science departments and the University's Science Library.