The study of transient chemical phenomena by conventional NMR has proved elusive, particularly for non-(1)H nuclei. For (13)C, hyperpolarization using the dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) technique has emerged as a powerful means to improve SNR. The recent development of rapid dissolution DNP methods has facilitated previously impossible in vitro and in vivo study of small molecules. This review presents the basics of the DNP technique, identification of appropriate DNP substrates, and approaches to increase hyperpolarized signal lifetimes. Also addressed are the biochemical events to which DNP-NMR has been applied, with descriptions of several probes that have met with in vivo success.