Science Education: Chemistry and Biochemistry
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 developments, and read profiles of researchers working in these fields.
The Chemistry of Health
Showcases the many ways that chemistry is helping make the world healthier.
Computing Chemistry from Computing Life
Explores how combining chemistry and computers helps scientists develop new medicines and new materials.
The Chemistry of Health Poster
Get inspired by chemistry.
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.
Sugar Rush in Research
Simple sugars such as those in cookie icing provide the finishing touches on many holiday treats. Versions of these molecules also serve important functions in our cells.
Bacterial Biofilms: A Charged Environment
Bacterial cells in tight-knit communities use electrical signaling to communicate and cooperate with each other.
Bacterial 'Fight Clubs' and the Search for New Medicines
Competition encourages bacteria to produce compounds with therapeutic potential that they would otherwise hold in reserve.
Organic/biochemist Janarthanan Jayawickramarajah designs "smart molecules" that will shut down cancer cells while leaving the healthy ones untouched.
Mesmerized by Metals
Biochemist Amy Palmer tracks zinc in brain cells to uncover the causes of Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and prostate cancer.
Drugs from Deep Down
Biosynthetic chemist Brian Bachman studies secondary metabolites found in caves to help find cures for diseases.
Interview With a Scientist: Laura Kiessling, Carbohydrate Scientist
Laura Kiessling describes the carbohydrate coat that covers all cells, how cells use these coats to recognize one another, and how this information is used to design new antimicrobials and other medicines.
Cool Video: Watching Bacteria Turn Virulent
Researchers used an apparatus that mimics realistic bacterial settings to better understand-and block-the communication system that allows some bacteria to cause dangerous infections.
Cool 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.
Cool Image: Snap-Together Laboratory
Like snapping Lego blocks together to build a fanciful space station, scientists have developed a new way to assemble a sophisticated laboratory tool for manipulating small volumes of fluids.
These colorful, computer-generated ribbons show the backbone of a molecule that glows a fluorescent red.
Carbon Building Blocks
The arrangement of identical molecular components can make a dramatic difference.