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Biochemistry is a life science that studies the many chemical reactions that occur at the molecular level in plants, insects, microorganisms, viruses and mammals. Scientists who specialize as biochemists are part of a broad discipline that is relevant to medicine, dentistry and veterinarian care. Their objectives lead to research and work that makes significant contributions to most every life science, and allows for a thorough understanding of many health conditions.
Understanding Cells and Chemical Processes
The biochemist’s primary career objective is to fully understand every chemical process that is connected to living cells. Their focus is mainly on the activities of biomolecules, which are any molecules produced by living systems. By isolating many of the molecules found in cells, biochemists are able to observe their structures and compositions and to analyze their functions and their chemical reactions to substances in living organisms.
Identifying Disease Mechanisms
Biochemists also seek to identify disease mechanisms, or the causes of diseases, including toxins, bacteria and genetic disorders. Such studies and experiments in biochemistry have shed light on many elements of disease, leading to new medical approaches and therapeutic treatments.
Investigating Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Biochemists are interested in the study of inborn errors of metabolism. They make up an expansive group of genetic diseases that are linked to metabolic disorders. Some cancers and cardiac conditions, deafness and blindness, developmental delays, hypothyroidism and seizures are just a few of the ways these genetic diseases might manifest themselves.
Studying Oncogenes in Cancer Cells
Another goal of the biochemist is to better understand the inner workings of cells that contain oncogenes, which are mutated genes that have the potential to cause cancer. As biochemists continue to make advancements in this area of research, they may be able to develop drugs and treatments that focus on oncogenes and will slow down or completely stop their progression.
Examining Relationships with Other Sciences
Biochemistry covers a large spectrum of applications, which is why biochemists examine the relationships between their discipline and other life sciences. Pharmacology, genetics, immunology, physiology, toxicology, agriculture, food science, microbiology and clinical chemistry are some of the areas biochemistry carries over to. By exchanging information and investigating the expertise of other researchers, biochemists further their knowledge of life chemistry and of cells, also known as the building blocks of life.
Donna G. Morton lives in Atlanta and has been writing for more than 27 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from East Tennessee State University and spent 15 years in radio and corporate advertising, winning 10 Excellence in Advertising Awards for creative writing.