We’ve seen metabolism maps before, but never one quite so simple to read as this one, designed by Richard Wheeler, an illustrator and Oxford postdoc who researches the cell biology of parasites.
Metabolism encompasses all the chemical reactions necessary for your body to keep running, including turning food into energy and creating amino acids and the chemical bases for DNA. Researchers are especially interested in how these chemical processes interact, as metabolism plays a vital role in disease and how our bodies respond to drug treatments.
Here, the “subway” lines are metabolic pathways, labelled in the box in the bottom right hand corner. The pathways trace how one chemical is transformed into another chemical, catalyzed by a series of enzymes. It’s not a comprehensive illustration of every chemical reaction involved in metabolism, but it helps you get the idea.