Who Teaches Physiological Chemistry?

Samuel P. Bessman, MD
JAMA. 1966;197(6):409-412. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110060083021.
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The development of the medical school department of biochemistry may soon transform it to an institute only remotely related to the activities of the school. This process has been caused by two factors. The first is the Flexner Report and the second is the extensive growth of the discipline itself.

When the Flexner Report established the need for the incorporation of scientific principles into the teaching of medicine, departments of physiological chemistry began to appear in medical schools. The growing new departments became havens for increasing numbers of biochemists who had found little opportunity to develop independently in other areas of the universities. They soon expanded their studies beyond the immediate problems of animal and human biochemistry into the field of fermentation, then enzymology, then into bacterial metabolism and the chemistry of genetics. This was a natural result of the generality of biochemistry, but clinical departments began to question the


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