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What Does a Biochemist Do? - Open Education Online

What Does a Biochemist Do?

Biochemistry is among the essential fields of science development and enhancement of which is crucial for the quality of life as well as technological advancement. The field, which is quite broad, incorporates a wide variety of applications, concepts, and ideas of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, or other areas. Considering the importance of Biochemistry in our everyday lives, Biochemists are appreciated in various fields, including but not limited to Engineering, Manufacturing, Research, Agriculture, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Educational Institutions.

Depending on the career path of an individual’s choice along with the level of experience/expertise, the responsibilities and duties of a professional might vary. Furthermore, tasks assigned to Biochemists also differ from position to position of an individual.

As it was already mentioned above, Biochemists can work at a wide range of companies, organizations, or laboratories in various fields/areas. For that reason, Biochemists perform different tasks and are responsible for many and various issues.

Biochemists, in general, study the chemical principles of living organisms and biological processes. They conduct research to understand how particular chemical reactions go in tissues. They aim to improve the quality of life by a better understanding of various living organisms at the molecular level.

Almost every Biochemist conducts research, manages laboratory groups, prepares reports, and presents research results to scientific teams, and other parties. They typically analyze proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids (DNA, RNA), and various other polymers and the monomers of which they consist.

Usually, Biochemists not only work independently but also in a team comprising professionals from various other fields related or supplementary to Biochemistry (e.g., Chemistry, Biology, Physics).

It is evident that are plenty of sub-branches of Biochemistry and individuals specializing in each of them accordingly. Several examples include Metabolomics, Proteomics, Genomics, Animal and Plant Biochemistry, Immunology, Enzymology, Pharmaceutical Biochemistry, and Biotechnology.

Considering the fact that responsibilities of professionals specializing in specific branches of Biochemistry is somewhat similar but still vary since the context and purpose is different, it will be neither meaningful nor accurate to list the duties of each type of Biochemist.

So, this article will provide general information about the duties and responsibilities of Biochemists specializing in several interesting branches of Biochemistry.

Biochemistry Professor

The role of well-qualified professors at different educational institutions is of considerable importance. Getting proper training from experienced professionals grants students the set of skills and qualities that are important in shaping attitudes and viewpoints. For the students to have an opportunity to realize their goals, it is crucial to provide them with successful teaching methodology along with the high-quality staff.

Considering the information provided above, being a professor, especially of the discipline which plays such an essential role in the development of our world, is a very responsible choice.

Biochemists working at educational institutions are primarily responsible for providing students with information and explanation to support and enhance their knowledge and understanding of particular aspects of Biochemistry.

Working as a Professors of Biochemistry means that an individual is in charge of preparing and delivering clear and engaging presentations, holding office hours for students in need, and formulating and evaluating exam papers along with other study materials. In case if a professor has an Assistant Professor, also referred to as a Teaching Assistant, the duties might exclude evaluation of test papers.

Even though being a Professor seems to be easy and straightforward at first glance, it is a job that requires attention to details, willingness to support students, and continuous self-enhancement. Moreover, Professors must always review and revise already existing knowledge as well as get further information regarding the advancements in the specific field of expertise. This is especially true for the scientific fields, one of which is Biochemistry.

Biochemistry Researcher

Research is an excellent tool for building knowledge and facilitating the learning process. Scientific research is of immense importance since research is directly related to the development of the world and the improvement of the standard of living.

Biochemical Research Laboratory is a common workplace for professionals specializing in Biochemistry and interested in research and development. Biochemistry Researchers typically work on a wide variety of research topics depending on the current interests and needs of the particular laboratory. Moreover, they examine various biological compounds, living organisms, and biological processes that influence the advancement of technology, medication, and educational base.

Considering the fact that Biochemistry is linked to various other disciplines or sub-disciplines, it is evident that Biochemistry Researchers can work in laboratories specializing not only in Biochemistry but in various other fields. Even though specific duties and responsibilities of researchers might vary from laboratory to laboratory, Biochemistry Researchers generally examine cells (especially cancerous), biomolecules, pharmaceutical drugs, intermediates of different metabolic pathways, hormones, proteins involved in cell signaling, etc.

Research areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • Metabolomics
  • Proteomics
  • Genomics
  • Enzymology
  • Immunology
  • Biotechnology
  • Neurobiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Reproductive Biochemistry
  • Plant and Animal Biochemistry

Agricultural Biochemist

Agricultural Biochemistry is the field that studies concepts and ideas mainly of Chemistry, Biology, and Biochemistry essential for agricultural production, processing of raw materials into foods and beverages as well as identification of linkages between plants, animals, bacteria, and their environment.

Agricultural Biochemists are individuals working at various agrarian companies or organizations and are primarily responsible for analytical and qualitative assurance. They generally perform systematic analyses of the samples as well as packed products and package integrity along with specifications. Moreover, Biochemists might also conduct specific research within the agricultural companies in case if needed.

More importantly, Agricultural Biochemists are in charge of routine testing and statistical analyses for quality improvement purposes.

Clinical Biochemist

Medical Biochemistry is one of the branches of Biochemistry which utilizes concepts and ideas of Biochemistry of human’s body for the development and improvement of health-related issues. The branch plays a vital role in accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of various diseases and biochemical disorders.

Individuals with a certain degree in Biochemistry can specialize in Medical Biochemistry and occupy various positions offered by hospitals or healthcare facilities. One of such jobs is a Clinical Biochemist position which is provided by each and every hospital.

Clinical Biochemists are laboratory-based experts who are responsible for testing of various physiological samples, analysis of the results, and writing reports of corresponding findings.

Clinical Biochemists are principal parts of the chain at every healthcare facility since final diagnosis, and individual treatment plans for the patients are generated only after the results retrieved from the laboratory experts.

Pharmaceutical Biochemist

Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the discovery, development, production, and marketing of pharmaceutical drugs. Moreover, these companies are also in charge of the development and improvement of already existing methodologies and techniques implemented in the process of drug production. Evidently, the production of high-quality medicines is directly connected to the successful functioning of pharmaceutical companies.

Biochemists working at pharmaceutical companies are referred to as Pharmaceutical Biochemists. Depending on the position held by an employee, responsibilities and duties might slightly vary, but there are still some general tasks that all Biochemists at such companies perform.

These tasks include but are not limited to, the following:

  • Analysis of raw materials, samples products;
  • Preparation of samples;
  • Data analyses, providing reports;
  • Analytical tests of the product samples using various analytical techniques, methodologies, and instruments (IR, UV, GC, HPLC, etc.)
  • Quality control of the produced compounds;
  • Testing for the effectiveness of the products for particular diseases.

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