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Science Education: Chemistry and Biochemistry

A 3-D model of the alkaloid serratezomine A. Credit: Johnston Group.Understanding the interactions between molecules—that's chemistry. And understanding the chemistry that occurs in living organisms—that's biochemistry. Studies in these areas focus on questions like:

  • How do enzymes generate cellular energy and facilitate chemical reactions?
  • What roles do natural substances like fats and sugars play in our bodies?
  • How can we use chemistry to design new medicines?

Follow the links below to learn more about chemistry and biochemistry, including recent discoveries, and read profiles of researchers working in these fields.



Booklets

Cover image of The Chemistry of HealthThe Chemistry of Health
Showcases the many ways that chemistry is helping make the world healthier.

Computing LifeComputing Chemistry from Computing Life
Explores how combining chemistry and computers helps scientists develop new medicines and new materials.

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Classroom Poster

Cover image of Chemistry of Health PosterThe Chemistry of Health Poster
Get inspired by chemistry.

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Fact Sheet

DNA structureNIGMS Nobelists
NIGMS has a strong track record of funding scientists who receive Nobel Prizes. Learn about NIGMS-funded scientists who have received a Nobel Prize for their chemistry-related discoveries.

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Research News

Mosquito netNew Door Opens in the Effort to Stave off Mosquito-Borne Diseases
The discovery of a second pesticide docking site may lead to better monitoring and management of insecticide resistance, also improving treatments for mosquito-borne diseases.

Photo of candies.A New Tool to Check Sugar Consumption
Scientists have found a biomarker that can be used to measure a person's sugar consumption.

The activator cancer cell culture, right, contains a chemical that causes the cells to emit light when in the presence of immune cells. Credit: Mark Sellmyer, Stanford University School of Medicine.An Accessible Way of Making Cancer Cells Glow
Using only materials commonly found in most biology labs, scientists have created a chemical probe that glows when cancer cells interact with immune cells.

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Articles

Genetic change that causes myotonic dystrophy type 2. Credit: Ilyas Yildirim, Northwestern University.Basic Research Fuels Medical Advances
Some 300,000 NIH-funded scientists are working on projects aimed at improving disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention, often through increasing understanding of basic life processes.

Chemical structureThe Greening of Chemistry
Researchers are developing new reactions that make the chemical processes used to manufacture medicines, plastics and other products cleaner, faster and cheaper.

MetalsMetals: In Sickness and in Health
We're not quite Iron Man, but metals are intricately entwined with our bodies. They make vital functions like respiration, circulation and reproduction possible.

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Profiles: Meet a Chemist

Amy PalmerMesmerized by Metals
Biochemist Amy Palmer tracks zinc in brain cells to uncover the causes of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and prostate cancer.

Brian BachmanDrugs from Deep Down
Biosynthetic chemist Brian Bachman studies secondary metabolites found in caves to help find cures for diseases.

Martin BurkeMolecular Prosthetics
Organic chemist Martin Burke is developing new chemical synthesis techniques to make substances that could restore function to molecules.

More profiles from The Chemistry of Health and Findings


Audio and Video

Blood vesselsCool Video: Repurposing Genes, Repurposing Drugs
Using an evolutionary approach, researchers have determined that a compound used to treat parasitic and fungal infections could also reduce the size of tumors.

Audio fileDr. Martin Burke on Being a Chemist
Martin Burke discusses his current research and how he got interested in it.

Michael RogersDr. Michael Rogers on Small-Molecule Chemistry
NIGMS' Michael Rogers talks about small-molecule chemistry.

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Images

Fruitful DyesFruitful Dyes
These colorful, computer-generated ribbons show the backbone of a molecule that glows a fluorescent red.

Carbon Building BlocksCarbon Building Blocks
The arrangement of identical molecular components can make a dramatic difference.

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Puzzle

Chemistry of Health crosswordThe Chemistry of Health Crossword Puzzle | Accessible Version

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More chemistry games and puzzles | All quizzes and puzzles

This page last reviewed on April 18, 2014