Life's Chemistry Press
Making Life's Molecules easy to understand
There are unanswered questions!
We bring together research that explores living and inert molecules.
Juman Hijab has been in clinical practice as a physician for more than three decades. Her lifelong interest has been in the chemistry of life.
It all started early in her caree, when she was researching the proteins that help glucose go from inside the intestine, across the cells, and into the blood.
The fascinating fact is that those proteins have a concordant orientation. Their carboxyl COOH heads in the apical membrane of the cell face the intestinal lumen (their amine NH2 tails) swim in the cytoplasm.
As if the cells have learned to follow the leader, the proteins in the basement membrane of the cell have the carboxyl COOH heads swimming in the cytoplasm and the amine NH2 tails facing the plasma. It seems that this protein orientation will encourage the glucose molecule to be shuttled from the apical membrane to the cytoplasm, and then from the cytoplasm to the plasma.
A neat system for moving molecules across cells.
But how do cells do this? What determines the orientation of proteins in membranes?
From these questions, Dr. Hijab started looking into cancer cells (which have their own patterns of protein orientations) to living ions (and why only certain elements of the periodic table are integrated in living things) to water (the basis of all living things).
Juman Hijab, MD MPH
“There is a need to connect information from divergent fields in such a way that we don’t have to memorize facts".
Life is chemistry.
Juman is a regular contributor to Life’s Chemistry Press. This work developed over years, with a central goal of having the biochemistry and physiology of life make sense to many audiences. In writing, concepts have been drawn from multiple disciplines.
About Juman Hijab
Juman's lifelong interest has been in the chemistry of living cells. By training, Juman is a physician, and at heart, she remains a clinician. If the ideas described here create new ways of approaching disease, it will be worth all the time and effort that has gone into producing this work.