Today, chemists play essential roles in the quest to understand biological systems. For example, they are involved in finding out precisely how the different types of biomolecules found in our bodies and in microbes function. They determine the structures of these very large and complex molecules, in order to work out how such molecules interact in cells. Such knowledge is critical for the understanding of processes such as infection and ageing and the design and synthesis of new drug molecules that can affect the properties and behaviour of cells.
The work of biological chemists, therefore, continues to have a massive impact not only on areas such as human health and wellbeing, but also in the potential exploitation of biology for environmental and economic benefit. The huge and growing importance of this area of chemistry is illustrated by the fact that more than one third of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Chemistry during the past 30 years, and more than half of those awarded during the past 10 years, have been for contributions at the chemistry/biology interface.