A proteome is a protein in all its changes and iterations. So proteomics is the study of how these proteomes produce, alter and direct the creation of proteins, the building blocks of life. Proteomics is being tapped especially to find better treatments and possibly even a cure for cancer.
After the Human Genome Project successfully completed a highly-accurate sequence of the human genome in 2003, the field of genomics got bumped into field status. It aims to find the genetic basis and predisposition for health issues and diseases, and also serve to find treatments, preventions and cures for these problems.
Think biology. Think information technology. Now smash those two together. Bioinformatics is the use of computer information technology to study biological processes and systems. This wonderful combination is used to better understand how and when biological systems go awry, and how best to treat them.
Long thought of as the province of intuition and even divine inspiration, decision-making is getting the scientific treatment and field it deserves. Neuroscientists are uncovering the neural pathways and routes activated when people are engaged in decision-making. They hope to one day be able to shed more light on mental disorders that grossly affect decision-making, like schizophrenia and anxiety.
Cytogenetics and genomics are closely linked. Cytogenetics narrows its focus to study the human chromosome and study changes, structure and placement there and how all that could have affected or effected health changes in the person at large. Once the chromosomes are accurately labeled, they can be tracked and health monitored.
Enough of plastics, how about living systems? Synthetic biology might sound Frankensteinian, but it's still really cool. It's two pronged: it refers to the design of novel biological constructs, as well as the redesigning or modification of current biological systems. Artificial life, and life reworked. Pretty sweet.
A truly interdisciplinary field that engages the potential of quantum mechanics and information gathering. It bleeds into computer science with the advent of quantum computers, which are predicted to be able to solve massive amounts of data humans have no chance at. It reaches into quantum cryptography that can help us outsmart security breachers. It's quantum from here on out.
Consciousness and cognition ”” two of the most intractable questions of human existence. Neuroscience is getting involved to help unravel these knots and explain the situation. Using psychophysical experiments, neuroimaging, systems studying, and even some genomics, cognitive neuroscientists are on their way to cracking the code of cognition.
All this poking around in the brain, though, can raise some pretty ethical questions. As such, an interdisciplinary field called neuroethics has arisen to check just how far some studies will go to investigate or even alter the brain. It aims to put standards on and boundaries around the extent of neural imaging, the use of psychotropic drugs, and also existential conundrums posed by all these new advancements.
Chaos Theory is a field of study that aims to tackle just that...chaos. Unlike linear or predictable systems, Chaos Theory turns its lens to stuff that is generally regarded as unpredictable, erratic and unmeasurable, like the turbulence of the stock market or the breakouts of war. You can see how valuable a field of study that could expect the unexpected really would be.
Another interdisciplinary field, behavioral genetics takes as given that personality has both genetic as well as environmental causes, and thus both should be studied to come to a better understanding of that personality. You may have heard the oft-repeated false dichotomy of nature versus nurture. Behavioral genetics makes it nature and nurture, and how, to find answers that will help unravel the mystery of personality.
Like mentioned earlier, quantum mechanics is revolutionizing how computers function, too. Right now, computers only scrutinize data in a binary 0 or 1. But quantum computing enables computers to analyze information in qubits, thus allowing a computer to see info in both 0's and 1's. Other attributes of quantum mechanics allow for even vaster amounts of information to be studied.
Enzymes are critical in normal physiological functioning, and play a key role in regulating bodily systems through metabolic and cellular pathways. Enzymologists study these transmitters using structural biology and biochemistry as a way to discover ways to improve, modify, halt or initiate enzyme transportation. Their work could one day be used to create better treatment for a range of diseases that hinge on enzyme functioning (or malfunctioning).
Chemoinformatics is like bioinformatics, but for chemistry. It uses data visualization to paint a picture of computer models made of chemical compounds and chemical systems. Using graphical illustrations of microscopic chemicals, scientists will better be able to understand how they work, and how they can work for us.
Affective science can be thought of as the study of feelings, and it's relatively new. It takes a look at things like emotions, stressors, preferences involved in decision making, and much more. It's also an interdisciplinary field with many and various applications, and hopes to provide the basis for studying human psychological decision-making.