Hey, it’s professor Dave, let’s talk about biochemistry. What is biochemistry? Is it biology? Is it chemistry? Well as you might guess, it’s sort of
in-between, quite literally in terms of size. In the great panoply of the
sciences, biochemistry sits right here. If we go smaller we get into small
molecules made of just a few atoms which is chemistry, and even smaller than that
we get to the particles that are even smaller than a single atom, and that’s
particle physics. If instead we go much bigger we are looking no longer at individual
molecules, but entire cells or parts of a cell. That’s biology. Right in between is biochemistry. This is the domain of large biomolecules
like proteins and DNA, and the things they can do. Is it important to
understand? You better believe it. Anything that has to do with nutrition,
medicine, or general health is rooted in biochemistry. That’s because nutrition has to do with
metabolism, the chemical process by which molecules in your body break down the
food you eat. Your health is governed by biochemistry as well, since all diseases
have a molecular basis. When you really get down to it, you are just a bunch of
molecules, so we need to know what they all do. That’s why the domain of biochemistry is
so often misunderstood. Everywhere you look there is misinformation. Diet fads,
medical hoaxes, and pseudoscience from every direction. Many people, when looking
at their own health even try to step away from science completely, opting
instead for unsubstantiated alternatives. But this is a poor strategy, because the
status of everything in your body is governed by large biomolecules like
enzymes, receptors, and DNA. These are molecules that biochemists understand
very well, and we all need to learn about them if we want to have any kind of
clear picture about what goes on inside the body. Unfortunately you can’t understand
biochemistry without understanding the basic chemistry that it breaks down to.
What these large biomolecules do is fundamentally the same stuff we learned in general and organic chemistry, it’s just a bunch of
plus and minus charges that make chemical reactions happen. So if you are
watching this series to supplement your undergraduate biochemistry course and
you remember your basic chemistry, you’re all set to move forward. If you
are someone that just wants to learn more about how the human body works but
you haven’t learned much chemistry, here is a list of other tutorials from my
general chemistry playlist and organic chemistry playlist that you really will
want to watch first in order for any of this to make sense. I promise this is the bare minimum, and I
also promise that if you understand these, everything in this series will be
pretty easy to understand. When we see a picture of, say, an enzyme, and it looks
like a weird tangled blob, we draw it that way to save time, because there are
hundreds or even thousands of atoms in it, which would be impractical to draw
out individually using the line notation we are familiar with. But we absolutely
must be able to understand this enzyme on the molecular level, so we can know
what functional groups it’s made of and how it does basic chemistry. Otherwise
biochemistry seems like magic, but it’s not, it’s just many surprisingly simple
chemical reactions, even if they are applied in complex ways and on huge
molecules. My goal with this series is to focus on the basic concepts of
biochemistry and illuminate them for the student and the common viewer alike. I
may occasionally mention details that aren’t that important to non-students,
and I also may gloss over some of the more technical details. This is in hopes of keeping everyone
engaged. But for anyone who might be viewing these tutorials, if you focus on
gaining the big picture of all these biochemical processes working together
to create the complexity of life, you will emerge much wiser at the end of the
playlist. Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged
watch more than once if you need to, and as always feel free to email me with any
questions you might have: Now let’s learn some biochemistry!