What does a biochemist do?

Article written by CEMP's team

What do biochemists do on a daily basis? ? If you’re curious about this, we’ll explain the answer in detail and what this work entails, to help you decide if this is the profession that best suits you.


What does a biochemist do?

In order to answer the question, perhaps the most logical thing to do is to start by defining the precise objects that biochemists work with. As such, it’s possible to say that biochemistry is a discipline in which chemical processes involving the interaction of living molecules are studied at a microscopic level.

Starting from this general definition, we can specify the tasks undertaken by biochemists in three large areas:

  • Research and laboratory work
  • Computer applications in the area of biochemistry
  • Other tasks, including the dissemination of knowledge, training, learning, etc.

Let’s see these in detail.


What does a biochemist do in the laboratory: research papers

Undoubtedly, one of the tasks that characterizes most biochemists is the work of experimentation and research related to various aspects of chemistry with molecular life. In this way, the biochemist plans and/or is involved in research projects, both basic and applied, together with other professionals in interdisciplinary teams.


Basic investigation

In terms of basic research, what does a biochemist do? Although the potential tasks of these professionals are innumerable in this area, we can at least highlight the following:

  • Combine different components to study their reaction at a chemical level
  • Look at how the mechanisms by which different cells feed, grow, or divide work
  • Isolate or synthesize proteins, fats, DNA or other types of molecules to analyze them in detail
  • Find out what effects drugs, hormones and nutrients have at the molecular level on different tissues and interactions between cells


Applied research

Within applied research, we can mention the following tasks related to biochemistry:

  • Create cultures or microcultures to study them in action and carry out experiments to modify their properties (for example, bacterial cultures, genetic modification, etc.)
  • Develop products and processes in medicine that can help detect infections, disorders and diseases. The development of new medicines for diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s stands out as one such development, even if much remains to be done
  • Look for new sources for sustainable combustion from biological resources (also known as biofuel), in order to improve the general state of the environment and reduce pollution levels

In any case, the biochemist will usually have to combine basic and applied research. Thus, a better study and understanding of molecular mechanisms is often required before realizing practical applications.

All of this is part of the general goal of making laboratory work efficient and producing results that can be applied in practice, either immediately or in the medium and long term.


What does a biochemist do with computer tools

As in any other sector, technological advances in computers have a great impact on what a biochemist does today. As such, as an essential complement to laboratory work, computer tools and programs are increasingly used to process and analyze all the information generated in research.

At this point, the fact that there are specialized biochemists for this type of work must be taken into account, as well as the fact that many biochemists rely on the work of computer experts. Not surprisingly, bioinformatics is one of the most dynamic and promising areas in this sector.

In any case, it’s possible to mention some of the tasks that a biochemist does based on computer technology:

  • Processing of laboratory experimentation results
  • Description of proteins based on their primary sequence
  • Molecular dynamics simulations with programs such as GROMACS
  • Use of three-dimensional spectral models to achieve a better understanding of complex concepts
  • Various calculations using programs such as CYANA, in relation to protein structures and the like

Therefore, the use of equipment and computer programs is essential in the work of a biochemist, both for the processing and analysis of information, and for simulation from models, among other tasks.


What does a biochemist do outside the laboratory?

A logical conclusion is that the work of the biochemist is not limited to research, experimentation and analysis tasks. In fact, many other branches of activity are developed around this primary nucleus, which are also worth mentioning:

  • As people that are dedicated to scientific research, biochemists must employ part of their time and efforts to improve their training. This includes activities such as attending conferences and congresses and reading specialized magazines, as well as taking specialized courses, master’s degrees or other postgraduate courses. In this sense, CEMP’s Master’s in Molecular Biology can represent an excellent training addition for any biochemist.
  • Of course, scientific dissemination is also usually an interesting field of work for biochemists, either as a main activity or as a complement to laboratory experimentation. Tasks such as writing technical reports, scientific articles or recommendations based on research would fit here. But we could also include participation as speakers in symposiums or scientific congresses.
  • As biochemists usually work as part of interdisciplinary teams, the biochemist must develop communication and coordination skills, in order to guarantee they can successfully conclude any joint project.
  • The search for funding to obtain sufficient funds for research is often also part of the daily work of biochemists.
  • In certain cases, either as a main or complementary activity, the biochemist can dedicate himself to teaching. Thus, both at undergraduate and graduate levels, there are many options for a biochemist to develop a fruitful career in teaching.


Join CEMP and get quality training in biochemistry

Now you know the answer to ‘what does a biochemist do?’ it is perhaps easier to get a more precise idea of what the day-to-day life of these professionals is like. In any case, tasks and work environments vary greatly in this sector, so it is not easy to cover them all or make a description that is always valid.

In any case, if you are interested in being part of this fascinating profession, do not hesitate to get the best training possible in order to have access to the best job opportunities. Ask us for more information without any obligation!

Do you want to know more about any of our Masters?

Fill out this form and one of our consultants will contact you.

I want information!

The most interesting news to stay up-to-date with everything you need on your journey.