Why Biochem?

Well.. my story started when I was a wee highschool student taking AP biology. I found my interest to be rooted in the DNA/genetics portion of the class, rather than the later units focusing on ecology (yuck). I aced the translation and transcription exams in my class, no surprise there! Since then, I knew I was just DESTINED to go into the sciences and a health profession. It wasn’t until I got to college and started out with Bio I, again encountering the dreaded taxonomy and similar topics. I found myself unable to wait to take Bio III, as I heard of a magical class full of DNA, cancer biology, and experimental techniques. I was told that Bio III was the gateway drug for future biochemistry majors, and after loving the class I sought out Dr. Hark to get her opinion and hopefully get my major declaration form signed. At this point I had never heard of the amazing Keri Colabroy and would not meet her until months later, scared out of my mind to meet the infamously intimidating professor. What Dr. Hark had explained to me was that biochemists like to know the why and how of biological processes within the body system, a combination of all different kinds of chemistry and biology. What I soon learned from the biology classes I took was that they were more focused on the “what,” and characterization of animals, their behaviors, and bodily systems. 

When I came to truly start my journey in biochemistry I was opened to a world of metabolic pathways, amino acids, and of course, my personal favorite, enzymes. I initially began biochemistry because I wanted to be able to explain and investigate the pathways and reactions occurring in the body, but starting research made me realize it would really teach me so much more. As I delved into actual experimental biochemistry and beginning my own research project, I soon gained so much knowledge on enzymatic reactions and mutating genes at your will that I could never get enough, leading me to stay for two summers doing research. Being a biochemistry major has given me an advantage in class of looking deeper into the root of the problem and searching for a solution that is not automatically characterizable and might be caused by multiple sources in the body. 

Finishing almost all my biochemistry coursework at this point in time, it astounded me how much all of my classes have related to each other and how interdisciplinary each subfield of biology and the other sciences truly are. Learning of the vibrational and other modes of electrons and atoms in physical chemistry, in my receptors and channels course this was related to the motion of receptors and structures of the membrane – no entity being truly stagnant or staying the same. My physical chemistry course debunked all of the knowledge I thought to be true of entropy and the location of an atom, each year of college building on one another. 

Although not quite related to biochemistry in the traditional sense, my desire to enter into the optometry field has only been heightened from my coursework. All the general courses as well as biochemistry, microbiology, and of course optics from physics will be part of my first year of optometry school and Muhlenberg has prepared me at length for upper level work. My research has pushed me to want to become a clinical professor at some point in my life, and hopefully educate the future of optometry (once I become a part of it). For my project this semester, although I have not thought too extensively on it, I would like to study an ocular disease and hopefully be able to add this work to my CV showcasing my interest and present knowledge of optometry!

2 Replies to “Why Biochem?”

  1. Hey Victoria! Hopefully this note gets to you okay, because it’s my practice comment for class. I just wanted to let you know how lovely it was to read your post about what biochem means to you! Your passion for the field and genuine joy you have for learning this material really shine through your words, and it makes me so happy that you’ve been so fulfilled by your choice of a major (it’s also fun to share a distaste for ecology with someone lol). I can’t wait to see what happens for you in the future, especially as a stellar optometrist!!!

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