What is Chemical Biology? No… seriously.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. In fact, this series of blog posts is as informative to me as it is to you. Probably even more so. My views and the views of people interviewed for this blog do not, in fact, reflect what exactly “chemical biology” is, but only a snapshot. Please direct any comments or suggestions below!
The next several months are pretty big for me. Soon, I’ll be taking the GRE and deciding where to go for my PhD, but I honestly have no idea where I want to study. Because of my current research and classes I’ve taken, I know that Chemical Biology is the field for me. The only issue is, when asked recently by friends, family, and random strangers what Chemical Biology really is, I’m kind of at a loss.
For me, Chemical Biology means probing biological systems with chemical agents. Recently, I’ve had a chance to talk to a couple PhD candidates (including our very own Christine Herman) in Chemical Biology, and they all had varied definitions. Christine’s and my research could not be more different; she does research in bioassays, and I do a lot of work in peptidomimetics and drug discovery. Her research is in the analytical department, and mine in the organic. It surprised me to learn that she classified herself as a chemical biologist as well. This led me to a couple conclusions:
Chemical Biology is less of a specific field but more of a classification encompassing a wide range of different kinds of research. Things that would have once been considered organic chemistry (such as what I do), analytical chemistry (what Christine does), or even physical chemistry (see some later posts!) are now under the great big umbrella that is Chemical Biology. So, what’s a young blogger to do? Over the next several months, I’m going to examine different areas of research in Chemical Biology, one by one. I’m planning on getting in touch with some of the leaders in field. Hopefully, this will be fun for everyone, and help me decide where I want to do my PhD.
Next Monday tune in for a subject near and dear to my heart: peptidomimetics! Any suggestions on who to talk to? Post below!