Biochemist Job Description
A Biochemist researches the chemical properties of living organisms such as cells, plants, animals and humans. This includes studying biological processes, genetics, organism growth and disease. Regular work consists of conducting experiments and assessing the outcomes.
Biochemists typically work alongside biophysicists in a laboratory environment. The majority work for research institutions, both public and private, while a sizeable portion also work for universities, the pharmaceutical industry and chemical manufacturing enterprises. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Biochemists is expected to increase 8 percent through 2024.
Biochemist Duties and Responsibilities
In order to perform biochemical research, a Biochemist performs many different tasks. We analyzed job listings for Biochemists in order to identify these core duties and responsibilities.
Design and Conduct Experiments and Studies
A Biochemist is responsible for planning complex research projects, designing relevant experiments and developing studies to improve research and experimentation. They are often tasked with designing studies and experiments that research the effects of drugs, hormones or nutrients on a particular biological organism. During these experiments, Biochemists may isolate, analyze or synthesize molecules and cells. Often this involves manufacturing biological products or medicines and testing their effect on an organism. Sometimes they are responsible for managing a laboratory team and monitoring the quality of their experiments.
Manage Laboratory Equipment
The laboratory equipment is the responsibility of the Biochemist. They must set up and operate all necessary lab equipment, prepare samples and solutions, check laboratory inventory and order any necessary equipment for each experiment, and calibrate and maintain instrumentation.
Document and Communicate Findings
After completing experiments, the Biochemist must ensure the accurate and often electronic documentation of all results, including ensuring proper data collection and management, completing technical documentation and writing laboratory reports. They must analyze data and assess research findings in order to communicate conclusions through research papers and conference presentations.
Biochemists are knowledgeable in their field, detail-oriented, and possess strong analytical abilities, giving them the capacity to design and implement successful experiments. Responsible for communicating research findings through written reports and presentations, Biochemists must have strong verbal and written communication skills. They often work in teams to support the mission of an organization, so they must be dependable, dedicated, and trustworthy.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Biochemists with these core skills. If you want to work as a Biochemist, focus on the following.
- Completing extensive chemistry coursework
- Demonstrating ability in data analysis and interpretation
- Having a background in experiment design
- Possessing hands-on experience with relevant laboratory equipment
- Showing experience in the preparation of samples and solutions
- Possessing strong computational skills
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Biochemist toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Industry-specific experience
- Experience with microbial cultures
- Aseptic technique experience
- Experience performing assays
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Biochemist. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Biochem Blog – A blog from North Carolina State University’s Biochemistry department
World of Biochemistry – A blog about Biochemistry
The Bio Blog – A blog about medicine, molecular, and cell biology
ASBMB – American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
NIH – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
American Institute of Biological Sciences – Organization for all biological sciences
Biochemistry – This introductory textbook provides the basics of biochemistry.
Principles of Biochemistry – A primer on biochemistry, this book provides the fundamentals that all Biochemists must have.
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics – Expand your biochemistry knowledge with this intermediate textbook.
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