Toxicology is the science that deals with the adverse effects of chemical and physical agents on living organisms and biological systems. The University of Saskatchewan first formally recognized the need for developing expertise in this area in 1975, when a coordinator of toxicology research on campus was appointed with the specific mandate to foster toxicology research, and to work towards the establishment of a Toxicology Centre. In 1978, the College of Graduate Studies and Research approved the terms of reference for the establishment of the Toxicology Group, whose members are comprised of scientists with academic or research interests in toxicology at the University, or any of the Federal or Provincial agencies on campus. The widespread expertise of the Toxicology Group provided the foundation for the development of an interdisciplinary graduate program in toxicology, the first of its kind in Canada, which the University approved in 1980. Further support for toxicology was achieved in 1982, when the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan entered into an agreement to establish a Toxicology Research Centre, with Dr. Bruno Schiefer appointed as Director. The Centre was located on campus in a modern facility, created in 1986 with the assistance of a $2 million contribution from the Federal Government.
In 1996, the Toxicology Research Centre, the Toxicology Group, and the Toxicology Graduate Program were amalgamated into a single functional unit, the Toxicology Centre, with the goal of providing long-term stability and a focus for toxicology activities on campus. This year also marked the appointment of Dr. Karsten Liber as the Centre's Director, succeeding Dr. Schiefer after his many years of dedicated work. Dr. Liber's expertise in environmental toxicology expanded the Centre's existing capabilities in traditional clinical toxicology research and teaching.
Construction began in earnest in January of 2006 on an $11.8-million expansion to the Toxicology Centre, giving it unique capabilities that now make it the foremost university-based Centre in the country for water pollution research. A new Aquatic Toxicology Research Facility (ATRF) is the only facility of its type in Canada and one of only a few in the world, and allows the U of S to pursue its goal of becoming the national and international leader in aquatic toxicology research and training. Accompanying research laboratories consist of analytical, wet chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology laboratories. Renovation of existing facilities also provided critically needed office and student space.