Biochemistry is the study of the chemicals and processes of living things. It is essential to medicine (it is the only branch of chemistry taught in medical schools), drug discovery, and discovery of how life processes are altered by the environment and pathology. Other than the simple biochemicals and lipids, there are the macromolecules, including proteins and DNA. Determining the structure of these and how various drugs and other chemicals bind to them is the basis of modern drug design. Another branch of biochemistry, molecular biology, exploits the properties of DNA to allow nearly any gene to be isolated, modified, and expressed in nearly unlimited quantities. Biochemists also collaborate with cell biologists to learn how the proteins (proteomics) and DNA (genomics) differ between living things and as organisms respond to their environment (cell signaling).
Students conducting research with biochemical faculty receive training in different techniques including chromatography, electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, microscopy, spectroscopy, and hyphenated techniques, as well as more specialized techniques. These skills, together with the interdisciplinary training, serve well during the job search after graduation.
For more information, go to the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.