The chemistry of living organisms and their vital processes Biochemistry involves studying the chemistry of living things. This would include substances, compounds and processes. A Biochemist is the person that gets into the most, minute characteristics of organisms, and their biological processes. Although Biochemists have many different areas of specialization from which to choose, almost all of them are required to have good research techniques as well as the ability to synthesize and analyze information.
Biochemists have many potential roles within the scientific community, including working with agriculture, pharmaceutical industry and crime labs. An example is that they find new ways to diagnose and treat disease in humans including potentially creating anti-cancer agents and others as possible treatments for disease.
Students attaining a degree in biochemistry receive an excellent preparation for a scientific career. The knowledge gained studying biochemistry is applicable to many areas including agriculture, medicine and biotechnology. Biochemistry graduates also possess knowledge and expertise in laboratory techniques and analysis in areas such as:
· Molecular genetics
· DNA analysis
· Toxicological and environmental testing
If you were interested in studying biochemistry, you would receive additional knowledge in the basic sciences of biology and chemistry, but particularly in biochemistry you would cover:
· Molecular biology and Novel Molecular Diagnostics
· Drug Development
· Stem Cell Therapies
· Gene Therapy
· Social and Ethical Issues Relating to Genomic Information
· Patent Law
With a degree in Biochemistry, an individual would find they have a vast list of careers available. The large industry is that of pharmaceuticals followed by work with the human genome project. Other industries where a Biochemist would work include:
Private Sector including
· Food and Drink (includes brewing)
· Health and Beauty Care
· Medical Instrument companies
· Chemical manufacturing companies
· Research Companies and Laboratories
Public Sector including
· Scientific laboratories
· Agriculture and fisheries
· Public Health Entities
· Blood Service
· Forensic Science
· Overseas Development
· Public Health Laboratories
· National Blood Services
· Cancer research institutes
· Environmental Pollution Control
Biochemists in other industries
While most biochemist graduates tend to work in a traditional laboratory and research environment. Some biochemists may be attracted to working within a scientific company, but in more non-traditional roles. Possible careers may include recruitment agencies, sales, management and computing.
Further Study Opportunities
Biochemists also find opportunities once they earn a higher qualification, either through attaining honours, masters or PhD level qualification. As in many other science related fields, higher education qualification such as a PhD is considered advantageous over students with a single degree as it is considered specialized practical experience. Particularly with research this is considered valuable as postgraduate students receive longer term promotion and career opportunities.
In attempting to undertake further study, basic opportunity cost analyses must be taken; further study requires additional time to be taken, with, for example a PhD sometimes taking 4-5 years as well as requiring high Bachelor's and Master's degree grades; and there is a high level of competition to get scholarships. Students may also find they are over qualified for the basic science positions that they must take up to get experience. Nonetheless there are positives for students including working with the elite field of biochemistry, higher positions, higher wages and higher respect.
Some specializations for postgraduate biochemistry courses include:
· forensic science
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