I grew up loving puzzles. I have always been fascinated by the concept of piecing things together in order to reveal a larger, more complex picture or idea. To study biochemistry is to solve an intricate and complicated puzzle. Biochemistry aims to piece together the concepts of biology under a chemical lens. It is to understand the deeper and more intricate chemistry of biological activities that occur inside living organisms, human and non-human. The field of biochemistry strives to solve the panoramic biological puzzle with the hopes of harnessing nature’s properties in order to deliver results, such as food and drugs, and further benefit society. The concepts in biochemistry has extended into many other fields including neuroscience, agriculture, nutritional science, environmental science, immunology, and genetics. From uncovering how sunlight converts into energy to discovering the metabolic discourse of a hormone, biochemistry seeks to understand the overarching question of how exactly life works.
I have always been the kind of person who always needed things to make sense. I strictly believe that anything that occurs in life needs to have a direct cause or meaning. The tendency of proteins to adapt a structure that correlates to their specific function satisfies this need for things to fit nicely into a puzzle. I am specifically enthralled with structural biochemistry. I am captivated by the study of genetics and the power that amino acid composition holds over the quaternary structure and overall function of a protein. The primary sequence of a protein is essentially the box cover that depicts the picture of what the puzzle is supposed to look like and the amino acids that make up the primary sequence are the puzzle pieces. Tinkering with the pieces (or tinkering with the amino acids) changes what the puzzle (or protein) is going to look like. Being able to change and manipulate the structure and function of a protein is a fundamental concept in the study of biochemistry.
Throughout my education as a biochemistry major, I began by learning the essentials and basics of biology and chemistry. In time, my curriculum evolved to enrolling in deeply immersive classes that involved understanding how to draw connections and bridges between the basic concepts I learned in biology and chemistry to further understand the more complex and elaborate cellular processes that occur within a living organism. The sophistication and finesse of activities that the body has evolved to make all the pieces create a bigger picture is the magnificence that the biochemistry field endeavors to unveil.
Among the list of intricate biochemical activities I have learned throughout my education, the ability to manipulate the genome is a concept that fascinates me most. Being able to tell the cell what to do or what proteins to make and how to make them is a concept that has guided me towards the career and higher education path I have chosen for myself. The ability to manipulate biology and chemistry to do what the scientist wants is the highest amount of control a mere human can have on nature. Throughout my career, I would like to be part of a group of fellow scientists and innovators who are just as fascinated by the puzzle-piece behavior of proteins. I would like to pursue high-impact research involving the manipulation of amino acid composition and protein functionality in ways that will elicit a response that can mitigate, perhaps even cure, the effects of disease. Following a career in biochemistry allows me to play with the puzzle pieces of science to ultimately transform the final picture in a way I desire to see it and a way that can improve the quality of life.
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