Biochemists investigate the chemical processes that take place inside all living things, from viruses and bacteria to people.Job Category:
What you will do:
Your role and tasks will vary by industry.
In the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries, your work will include:
- developing new products
- monitoring production
- quality control
- checking the safety of existing products
In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute, your work will include:
- carrying out tests on blood
- researching the causes of disease
- exploring new methods of treatment
In agriculture and the environment, your work will include:
- genetically engineering plants to create pest-resistant crops
- improving the quantity of crops
- developing and extending the shelf life of produce
- monitoring the effects of pollution on the environment
As a biochemist in education, you could work in universities, colleges and schools, or medical, veterinary or dental schools.
- knowledge of biology
- knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
- maths knowledge
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- analytical thinking skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- thinking and reasoning skills
- concentration skills
- organisational skills
You’ll usually need a science degree. For jobs in industry or research, you will also need a postgraduate qualification (MSc or PhD).
Relevant first or higher degree subjects include:
- biological science
- cell and molecular biology
- chemical and molecular biology
- microbiology genetics
- molecular biology
In the UK NHS, you can train by following the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may work shifts, and during busy periods may work longer hours.
You’ll usually work in a laboratory. In the manufacturing industry, you’ll also spend time in production areas. You’ll wear protective clothing like a laboratory coat and safety glasses.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could become a team leader or manager, running a department, or move into research, sales and marketing, or scientific journalism.