Understanding Biochemistry

A free on-line resource from The Biochemical Society

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Understanding Biochemistry is a free, open-access, online resource produced by The Biochemical Society. It is a series of simple texts, published as part of the Essays in Biochemistry series, aimed at senior high-school and undergraduate students, and their teachers.  They can be read online or downloaded as pdfs from the Portland Press web site:


The articles (available in English) are written and illustrated to make them easily understandable by students, providing up-to-date overviews of key concepts in biochemistry and molecular biosciences.

The following are available (as of February 2021) but other titles may be produced in the future:

Enzymes: principles and biotechnological applications

Biological membranes


The immune system

Essential chemistry for biochemists

The biochemical basis of disease

The genetic basis of disease

Structure and function of nucleic acids

Recombinant DNA technology and DNA sequencing


Uncovering protein structure

Keith Elliott

Member, FEBS Education Committee

I spent 40 years teaching and researching, and developed a particular interest in education and career development. I chaired the Education Committee and was Careers advisor for the UK Biochemical Society. In these roles, and my work with students at the University of Manchester, I realised how important it is for young scientists to recognise their skills and be able to "sell" themselves to potential employers (and grant awarding bodies). I now run CV support sessions for young scientists on behalf of the FEBS Education Committee, of which I was a founder member.