All you need to know in order to construct metabolic maps logically instead of memorizing them

Robert Warner Chambers

Hi, I’m Bob Chambers

Welcome to our Virtual Classroom

I am going to show you how to use “electron pushing’ to predict the product(s) of any biochemical reaction. Once you know how to do this, you can construct complicated metabolic pathways from scratch. In the process, you will learn to think logically rather than just memorizing a bunch of reactions. The principles apply to all the Life Sciences and extend far beyond the bounds of metabolism. However, metabolism is  a convenient way to show you how to apply the principles.

All the tools you need are on this website, and they are FREE. There are no strings attached. This is my way of saying THANK YOU to my students and teachers.

If you think chemistry is irrelevant for modern Life Sciences, consider this argument:

In his book, “DNA. The Secret of Life”, Nobel Laureate James D. Watson. wrote,

“The essence of life is complicated chemistry and nothing more”.

It doesn’t matter whether you call it Biochemistry, Physiological Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, Chemical Biology or Molecular Biology, it’s still chemistry applied to biological systems. The emphasis may be different, but the chemistry is the same. Regardless of your specialty (Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Cell Biology), you need a good background in chemistry. It doesn’t matter whether or not you use these principles directly in your work, they will influence your thinking, and that is very important.

Metabolism is the motor that runs the cell machine. It is nothing more than a large collection of connected chemical reactions, but everything you do depends on those reactions. If you want to understand how cells work, then you must understand how biochemical reactions work. You can approach this by memorizing complicated metabolic pathways. This is how biochemistry is usually taught. Alternatively, you can master the fundamental principles of chemistry that you need to approach biochemical reactions logically rather than memorizing them.



CHEMICAL BASIS OF METABOLISM - Free biochemistry textbook


Everything you need to know is in the textbook, “The Chemical Basis of Metabolism” (CBM), which can be downloaded FREE from this website.

Since we learn best by doing, this course is based on Problems Sets that will be  posted  weekly on this website.



Proceed as follows:

  • Download CBM

  • Read the Preface and Introduction.

  • Read Chapters 1 and 2.

  • Write down your answers to Problem Set 1.

It is very important that you write out you answers in detail without any additional help before you look up the answers.

  • Check your answers. The answers to each problem set will be posted the week after the problem set is posted.

  • Proceed in this manner through the 25 Problem Sets.

It is important that you write a detailed mechanism for each reaction that you consider.  Don’t try to guess the answer; use “electron pushing”. Don’t skip steps.

Download the Book