What Does a Biochemist Do?
Biochemists typically work for colleges, universities or private organizations in a research laboratory, but they can also work for manufacturing plants, renewable energy companies and food or drug facilities. They combine their knowledge of biology and chemistry to improve the health and well-being of living things. Their job is to experiment with chemicals and apply them to cancer cells or cells that show signs of hereditary disease to see whether the chemical overpowers the cells or leaves them unchanged. They may also be responsible for traveling to specific areas to obtain samples from animals, humans and plant life.
Biochemist Skills and Qualifications
Biochemists have to have a strong understanding of biological processes and scientific concepts in the areas of biology and chemistry. In addition, Biochemists also need:
Analytical skills for conducting scientific experiments and analyzing them with precision and accuracy
Communication skills for writing and publishing research papers and reports, giving presentations and communicating with team members
Critical-thinking skills for drawing conclusions from experimental results through sound judgment and reasoning
Interpersonal skills for working well with others on a team towards a common goal
Math skills for using complex formulas and equations in their work
Perseverance to be thorough in their approach to problems and in their research
Problem-solving skills when using analysis and scientific experiments to identify solutions to complex scientific problems
Time-management skills for meeting deadlines when conducting research and prioritizing tasks
Biochemist Salary Expectations
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Biochemist Education and Training Requirements
A Biochemist position requires a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry along with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, chemistry, biology or a related field. Undergraduate coursework in computer science and math is also critical for Biochemists when performing complex data analysis. Undergraduates seeking a career as a Biochemist should try to gain additional laboratory experience through extracurricular courses that include a laboratory component, part-time work as a Laboratory Assistant or an internship in a laboratory environment.
Biochemist Experience Requirements
Experience is a major part of a Biochemist’s education as much of their four- to six-year Ph.D. program consists of working in a laboratory on research projects with other Biochemists. The Ph.D. program is often followed by two to three years of post-graduate work, when Biochemists may conduct their own research and then publish their results in scientific journals.
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