A biochemist is a scientist who examines the chemical composition and activities of living creatures at the cellular and molecular levels. In this career, your task may include metabolism, reproduction, growth, and mortality. In addition to dissecting organisms to their component chemistry, you could investigate the impact of nutrition, hormones, medicines, and other chemicals on life processes. Possible duties may include studying the structure and function of cell membranes, organelles, and proteins, creating new tests and methods to investigate cells, and evaluating new pharmaceutical candidates. You may also manage and supervise a lab staff, prepare research papers and submit findings for publication.
Here’s how to become a biochemist:
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree
Biochemistry bachelor’s degree programs integrate biological and chemical ideas. You’ll probably have multiple levels of analytical and organic chemistry classes and laboratories in addition to a basic scientific background. Many curricula include supporting topics such as physics, mathematics, and cell biology. During your senior year, several programs require you to complete a research project.
- Complete an Internship
An internship may help you acquire experience working in a lab or other research environment while also allowing you to connect with industry experts. Culturing cells, evaluating medication candidates, and producing protein extracts are all things you might do. Internships outside of degree requirements are encouraged and may be arranged by schools. Internships are often part-time during the academic year, although they may become full-time over the summer.
- Pursue Doctoral Studies
A doctorate in biochemistry is required if you want to do independent research or work in an administrative capacity. Doctoral degrees require a lot of study and usually take five years to finish. Curricula are often organized around a set of comprehensive core courses and a selection of special lectures and seminars in the first two years. Separate tracks are available in certain programs to allow for specialization. You can start studying and writing a dissertation on an original biochemistry subject in your third year.
- Get a Job
Biochemists and biophysicists employed about 30,400 people in May 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). These workers’ employment is expected to grow by approximately 6% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than the average for all U.S. professions. The desire to improve the quality of life and health of the aging American population, as well as the production of biofuels for cleaner energy, will drive this expansion. Hospital laboratories, research labs, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and agricultural enterprises are all potential employers.
- Advance Your Biochemist Career
Multiple paths for growth are available to you in the area of biochemistry. If you wish to continue conducting research, you might acquire enough experience and authority to become the head of a research team. Administrative or management jobs that demand technical knowledge, such as director of a government food testing program or at a botanical garden, offer additional options. You may also offer consultancy services to government organizations or companies.