Engineering combines quantitative analysis and synthesis to elucidate system design principles. Through the genomics revolution engineers can now begin to tackle biological problems using the same "measure, model, and manipulate" approach they have applied to physics and chemistry. Indeed, applying this system approach is widely recognised as essential not only for the development of innovative biotechnologies but also to yield fundamental scientific understanding of biological systems. As our ability to modify and control biological systems increases, biological processes will replace chemical and mechanical processes due to their inherent advantages of renewable resources, mild operation conditions and minimal waste problems. Early signs of the change are seen not only in the high-value pharmaceutical industry, but also in the production of bulk chemicals like lysine by fermentation and in bioleaching of copper and gold from mineral ore. Advances in our understanding of and ability to mimic biological systems are also inspiring completely new approaches such as nanotechnology and tissue engineering, which will form the foundation of new industries of the 21st century.
Chemical biology is a scientific discipline spanning the fields of chemistry and biology. It involves the application of chemical techniques and tools, often compounds produced through synthetic chemistry, to the study and manipulation of biological systems. Chemical biologists attempt to use chemical principles to modulate systems to either investigate the underlying biology or create new function. Research done by chemical biologists is often closer related to that of cell biology than biochemistry. Biochemists study of the chemistry of biomolecules and regulation of biochemical pathways within cells and tissues, e.g. cAMP or cGMP, while chemical biologists deal with novel chemical compounds applied to biology. Pharmacology researches the effect... [continues]
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