Studies & Degrees in Chemical Biology

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Biology is a natural science which deals with the study of life and living organisms. When you pair it with the term chemical as in chemical biology, it becomes as a branch of life science concerned with the study and manipulation of so-called biological systems by applying chemical tools and techniques. The State University of New Jersey says that as a study, chemical biology examines how chemicals interact with biological systems, especially of the human body. According to the Harvard University’s Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS), as a program of study, it focuses on biology which is distinguished from traditional chemistry as it uses chemical tools. Biological chemistry or biochemistry is different because it refers to the study of life processes at the molecular level with the application of chemical techniques.

As a program of study, chemical biology is offered in various institutions of higher learning. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States, offers this program under the Department of Chemistry with courses leading to the graduate and undergraduate degrees. The program covers the fundamental chemical principles governing biological systems, and is composed of synthesis, measurement, and theory of biological molecules. Among the courses are Biological Catalysis, Bio-molecular Structure and Function, Chemical Genetics, Chemical Imaging and Sensors, Metallo-Biochemistry, Nanobiology, and Biochemistry training in chemistry-biology interface. The University of Oxford in South East England, offers research programs for Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in chemical biology based on the concept of applying chemical principles and techniques in order to understand biology, or using this natural science to solve problems in chemistry. The research areas which students can conduct their study include fundamental studies of Protein Function, Protein Structure and Dynamics, Protein Engineering, Chemical Genetics, Chemical Synthesis, Single-Molecule Approaches, Biotechnology, and Applications in Medicine. The Pennsylvania State University operates the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, offering also graduate research program in chemical biology to equip students with the appropriate approaches through experiments and theory in the development of chemical tools in order to understand biological processes. With its concept of chemical biology centering on the scientific discipline at the crossroad of the physical sciences and the life sciences, the program presents research areas that include cellular responses to Chemical Stress, Drug Discovery, Enzyme and Receptor Chemistry, Proteomics, Chemical Synthesis, and Structural Biology.

The University College London has established a UCL Center for Chemical Biology to provide academic and technical support to biomedical sciences in the United Kingdom, with proposals to develop an integrative center for chemists and biologists alike, who are working on certain problems that need chemical biology. The Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden, a government-funded agency, provides resources for academic researchers throughout Sweden, and provides expertise for the development of written materials related to chemistry-biology interface.