A biochemist is a scientist who works with molecules and compounds, often at a cellular level. They study the way that cells across a variety of biological compounds interact, using this information in association with goals such as creating more effective medications, diagnosing diseases and producing healthier food. Biochemists may work for a wide number of employers, such as pharmaceutical companies, research hospitals, universities and food-producing companies.
Biochemists must be skilled with equipment such as centrifuges, microscopes and chemical spectrometers. They also need a strong understanding on the handling and use of substances relevant to their work, such as experimental medications, human tissue, blood, plasma and enzymes. Depending on their specific employer and tasks, the biochemist may participate in studies for pure research or to help improve upon existing compounds. One of the key aspects of a biochemist's job is producing thorough, accurate documentation; the scientist must document all procedures and observations. In settings such as research clinics and hospitals, they may also be the point person for human studies; this may require helping set up control and experimental groups, as well as providing medical and secondary support to participants.
A career as a biochemist generally begins with a bachelor's or post-baccalaureate degree in chemistry with an emphasis in biological sciences. Most biochemists seek out internships and/or work as research assistants during their college careers. In addition to education, previous experience in biochemistry is often required or preferred. Biochemists typically work in a laboratory environment during regular business hours, although alternative and/or additional hours may be required depending on the employer or position.
Operate laboratory equipment and maintain meticulous notes on usage and protocols.
Disseminate findings through reports and professional articles.
Research, identify, and synthesize biological macromolecules (proteins, lipids, etc.) through individual and collaborative efforts.
Teach and supervise undergraduate students.