Deon van der Merwe

BVSc 1994, University of Pretoria
BSc (Hons) (Wildlife Management) 1998, University of Pretoria
MSc (Vet Sc) 2000, University of Pretoria
PhD (Comparative Biomedical Sciences) 2005, North Carolina State University
Associate Professor
Head: Toxicology Section
Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory


As a veterinarian and a comparative biomedical scientist, my research interests are varied and include aspects of environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology, the use of mathematical and spatial models in toxicology, and veterinary botany.

We live in a chemical world. Sometimes the exposure to chemicals can be harmful depending on the type of chemical and the rates of exposure. My work in environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology is focused on the movement of chemicals in the environment that determines the exposure to various organisms.

My work in mathematical modeling involves studies of  the absorption of chemicals into the body following skin exposure. This work includes efforts to better understand the mechanisms of absorption, as well as in vitro experiments aimed at determining the rates of absorption of particular chemicals and formulations.

Plants contain biologically active compounds that can have both toxic and potentially useful effects. I am interested in the interactions between people, plants and animals where it involves plant toxicity and the use of plants as medicines. Poisonous plants often cause serious livestock losses. These losses are typically associated with specific environmental conditions related to climate, soil, the life stage of the plants and management practices. I am interested in characterizing the environmental conditions that are correlated with animal losses due to plant poisoning.


  • Veterinary Toxicology (DMP 801)
  • Advanced Toxicology (DMP 803)
  • Ecotoxicology (DMP 804)
  • Toxins in the Biological System (DMP 805)
  • Environmental Toxicology (DMP 806)
  • Problems in Toxicology (DMP 809)
  • Diagnostic Medicine – Toxicology rotation (DMP 785)


  • I manage the Toxicology Section of the KSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The Toxicology Section provides diagnostic services to veterinary colleagues and the general public.