The Chemical Study of Life: Biochemistry at a Molecular Level

Biochemistry 2

Students in biochemistry learn to apply the methods and theories of organic, physical and general chemistry to study life at a molecular level. This includes an introduction to enzyme kinetics, metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, and cellular organization.

Students also learn laboratory techniques and are able to relate them to their chosen field of study/interest and learn to collect, record and analyze experimental data.

Structure and Function of Molecules

A cell is a chemical factory that designs, produces, stores, uses and degrades a vast array of chemicals (such as lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates). Understanding how these chemicals are made and used allows us to understand the way the cell works.

A key concept is functional groups, which are defined by specific bonding patterns of the atoms most commonly found in organic molecules (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen). Knowing the reactivity of these functional groups enables you to predict how other molecules might react with them.

The study of biochemistry bridges chemistry and biology. Its practitioners seek new ways of looking at how systems work and try out these ideas in the laboratory. This prepares them to make improvements, whether in the development of drugs or food and agricultural changes. Choosing to study this exciting field can lead to promising careers, including those available at university of the people. These degrees can be completed completely online, tuition-free.


Biochemistry is a specialized field of chemistry that deals with the chemical processes of living organisms. It combines the knowledge of organic and analytical chemistry with biology and other sciences to study life at the molecular level.

In biochemistry, the word bioenergetics refers to energy flow in biological systems. Living cells transform incoming energy from the environment into standardized energy carriers like adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This molecular currency is then used to perform cellular work.

All cellular energy transformations involve breaking and making chemical bonds. This makes biochemistry an important part of the study of life, as it provides a basis for understanding how energy is converted and stored within living organisms. Biochemists also study large molecules such as proteins and carbohydrates, as well as smaller particles such as amino acids and nucleotides. These studies often contribute to human health and disease. They can lead to advancements in medicine, drug discovery, agriculture, and food technology.

Cellular Organization

Like a factory, a cell must design, import, synthesize, use, export and degrade a variety of chemicals (including lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates). The cells also must sense how much raw or finished chemical is available and respond accordingly by ramping up or down production.

This chapter will review the four classes of biomolecules found in all cells and their major substructures (lipid droplets, membrane rafts, protein/RNA particles and organelles). It is important to note that while the chemistry of these molecules may be well understood in dilute solutions, the actual organization of these structures within a living cell is quite complex.

Biochemistry is a laboratory-based science that studies the chemistry of living organisms. It is a hybrid of both biology and chemistry, utilizing the techniques of analytical, organic and physical chemistry to explore biological systems. As such, it is a cross discipline that can help us see things in new ways and make important contributions to many different areas of research.


The biochemistry of living organisms is a complex mixture of physical, organic, and chemical concepts. It is often referred to by other names, including “biological chemistry” and “physiological chemistry”.

The main challenges of biochemistry are the processes unique to living systems, such as acquiring materials and energy, maintaining a constant internal environment, responding to changes in the external environment, and adapting to change. The course focuses on the cellular level of organization, with an emphasis on metabolic pathways and their regulation.

The course also covers the principles of protein structure and function, as well as bioenergetics and cellular organization as interacting regulated systems. The laboratory work focuses on basic biochemical and molecular biological techniques. Students are required to demonstrate an understanding of experimental design, as well as the ability to collect and analyze data. Laboratory safety is stressed throughout the course.

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