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How to become a Biochemist

biochemist careers

What does a Biochemist do?

Biochemists study the structure and function of living organisms, from viruses and bacteria to plants and man. They are concerned with chemical processes or products and are involved in analysis, process control, product development and biochemistry research. Once biological problems are identified, techniques are applied to solve them at the molecular level. This approach is applied to areas like disease diagnosis, pollution control, and food and drink production.

Biochemists work in teams with other scientists using a wide range of experimental and analytical techniques. Biochemistry often involves preparing reports on the results of research; biochemists may present their findings at conferences and have papers published.

Many biochemists specialise in medical laboratory science. Others work in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries in developing new products, improving existing processes and ensuring the quality of production.

Experienced biochemists are often responsible for project management and leading a team of staff.

What's the working environment like working as a Biochemist?

Working hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Shift or part-time work may be available. Additional hours may be required during busy periods.

The work is laboratory-based, and often requires handling dangerous chemicals for which protective clothing is required. Those working in manufacturing may spend part of their time in production areas. Others, with management or marketing responsibilities, are usually office-based.

What does it take to become a Biochemist?

To be a biochemist, you should:

  • have scientific skills and abilities
  • have the ability to think creatively and solve practical problems
  • have a logical and accurate approach to work
  • be able to undertake practical work safely
  • have good communication skills
  • be able to work in a team, as well as independently
  • have information technology skills
  • have financial and management skills.

Biochemist Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Biochemist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Biochemical Society
3rd Floor Eagle House
16 Proctor Street
Tel: 01206 796 351

Institute of Biology
9 Red Lion Court
Tel: 020 7936 5900

Institute of Biomedical Science
12 Coldbath Square
Tel: 020 7713 0214

Facts and Stats:

  • Dutch researchers have genetically altered plants so that bees produce foreign proteins in their nectar. They hope that the bees will create honey containing a variety of drugs or vaccines.

  • A Californian Company has just launched a motorised computer mouse that can give web surfers the sensation of texture - or other physical attributes - of items pictured on the internet.

  • A commercial satellite capable of distinguishing objects the size of a tea tray will soon be launched from the United States. The Ikonos-1 is the most powerful commercial imaging satellite yet built. Its parabolic lens will be able to resolve objects 80cm (32in) in length anywhere on Earth.

Courses to help you become a Biochemist