Reflection Post 1

When you ask someone what it means to study biochemistry, the answer they give will vary greatly depending on their individual interests. Even the word “biochemistry” itself is a fairly vague term; though this allows it to encompass many fields of research. Everything from pharmacology to nutrition to anatomy and physiology has some connection to the field of biochemistry. In my life, studying biochemistry initially meant learning about the internal chemistry of the body, and more specifically the brain, with the end goal being a career in neuropharmacology. This initial goal was inspired by the presence of various neurological diseases in my family that have yet to be cured by modern medicine, such as my grandmother’s Parkinson’s and my own Tourette’s. However, as time went on, my direction changed. As I learned more and more about proteins and DNA and various internal biological processes, I realized that as real as my drive to help find a cure for these diseases was, it only represented a part of me. There was always something more than the pharmacology aspect of biochemistry that I wanted to do, and that turned out to be music. Unfortunately, music is not something that is often regarded as even remotely related to the various subdisciplines of biochemistry. That, however, is where I believe I could make my mark. If we look back on the field of biochemistry and talk about its history, we can see many instances where something that was thought to serve little biological or chemical purpose turned out to be something of utmost importance. Take, for example, DNA. For a time, DNA was just regarded as leftovers in all the biological goop; a mostly inconsequential molecule that may serve some small purpose, but on the whole was nothing major. Then, as we all know, it was discovered that DNA was the blueprint that makes us who we are. It is because of this that I believe anything that has a physical effect on the body can be looked at through the lens of biochemistry, and that is why I chose to study it. Along with neuroscience, my other major area of interest, I want to find out what music does to our bodies on the molecular level to cause the immense changes that it can. For example, music can be used to help increase mobility in those suffering from diseases like Parkinson’s where mobility is limited. What my goal is in my career is to find out what happens on the chemical level to cause this change to happen, i.e. what the music is allowing the nerve cells to do that they cannot do normally. To that extent, biochemistry will be a useful tool in helping me uncover what music can do on the molecular level. In essence, what it means to me to study biochemistry is to see how the very small in biological systems impacts the very big and vice versa.

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