Biochemistry Research Scientist
— John Jacob Abel: 'Experimental and Chemical Studies of the Blood with an Appeal for More Extended Chemical Training for the Biological and Medical Investigator', Science 1915
What is Biochemistry?
Biochemistry combines the fields of microbiology, cell biology, genetics, chemistry, cell biology, and physics in their day-to-day work or experiments to unlock the secret of life at the cell and molecular level. Many of the remarkable molecular tools that allow us to analyze genes and proteins were developed by biochemists. Many scientists are also engage in cutting-edge research into disease therapies and prevention, and drug development. If cancer is to be cured, if the planet’s pollution is to be cleaned up or if the aging process is ever slowed, it will probably be the biochemists and molecular biologists who will provide the knowledge for these breakthroughs. At the molecular level, there’s the quest to understand the information in the DNA, to discover how portions of the genetic material are turned ‘on’ and ‘off’, and to learn how the exact shape of a protein determines what is will do. On a larger scale, scientists are struggling to see how different chemicals fit together to form cells, how those cells interact to build large organisms, and how seemingly-subtle differences in the chemical instructions issued by the DNA are able to sculpt Earth’s vast array of life forms.
What do Biochemists do?
Knowledge emerging from biochemistry and molecular biology will probably have a greater impact on our society than the splitting of the atom, as researchers in the field tackle a host of intriguing questions.
* Research and determine chemical action of substances, such as drugs, serums, hormones, and food on tissues and vital processes.
* Creating genetically engineered crops that are more resistant to frost, drought, spoilage, diseases and pests.
* Analyze foods to determine nutritional value and effects of cooking, canning, and processing on this value.
* Clean, purify, refine, and otherwise prepare pharmaceutical compounds for commercial distribution.
* Develop and execute tests to detect disease, genetic disorders, or other abnormalities.
* Develop and test new drugs and medications used for commercial distribution.
* Develop methods to process, store, and use food, drugs, and chemical compounds.
* Examine chemical aspects of formation of antibodies, and researches chemistry of cells and blood corpuscles.
* Isolate, analyze, and identify hormones, vitamins, allergens, minerals, and enzymes, and determine their effects on body functions.