Biochemistry is used in daily life to develop new products and new technologies. The development of a new artificial sweetener or food additive is an example of biochemistry. The use of gene therapy to treat certain medical conditions is another example of biochemistry used in daily life.
Biochemistry is the study of biological processes that occur in cells and organisms. Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids are the most common biological molecules studied by biochemists. Biochemistry became recognized as a distinct discipline when scientists combined biology with chemistry. Biochemistry also encompasses the science of molecular biology. This includes immunochemistry, neurochemistry and bioinorganic, bioorganic and biophysical chemistry.
Biochemistry is applied in various areas, including medicine, dentistry, industry, agriculture and food science. The discipline overlaps with many other fields of science, including pharmacology, physiology, microbiology and clinical chemistry. A multidisciplinary approach to research allows scientists to examine the mechanism of a drug action or conduct research related to organ functions. Toxicology, the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms, is closely related to biochemistry. Chemical toxicology commonly examines the toxic effects of chemical agents.
Colleges and universities employ a large number of biochemists as professors or researchers. Government agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, are also eager employers of these scientists. Pharmaceutical companies strive to attract the brightest biochemists in an effort to develop new and improved drugs.