A program that focuses on the scientific relationship of physiological function to the structure and actions of macromolecules and supramolecular assemblies such as multienzyme complexes, membranes, and viruses. Includes instruction in the chemical mechanisms of regulation and catalysis, protein synthesis and other syntheses, and biomolecular chemical reactions.
Careers in molecular biochemistry apply knowledge of chemical activity within living organisms to various fields.
Every living being is powered by chemical reactions. Biochemistry is all about finding ways to harness, control, kickstart, or create these reactions and put them to use. The work of biochemists is all around us, from prescription medications and weed killers to gene therapy and yogurt.
There are plenty of careers involving biochemistry, and knowledge of the field can prove fruitful in all sorts of environments. Pharmaceuticals and agriculture in particular work hand in hand with molecular biochemists, who perform vital transformation processes to isolate natural elements and turn them into something with various industrial uses.
Work in molecular biochemistry may include...
- Tracking subcellular developments and reactions
- Researching ways that various compounds affect living organisms
- Conducting experiments and analyzing their results
- Using specialized machines and techniques to explore chemical processes
- Collaborating with other scientists to solve a problem
- Writing grant applications and requests to fund research
Biochemists may work in any number of capacities, including medical research, environmental or agricultural sciences, or sales and marketing for specialized industry products. They are frequently employed by pharmaceutical companies or government agencies like the EPA or FDA, or they may work as consultants providing services to legal teams or product developers.
Almost all jobs involving biochemistry require the completion of a four year Bachelor's degree. This is largely because those who complete a science-focused undergraduate program emerge with specialized knowledge of scientific principles and lab procedures that is difficult to master outside of a structured academic environment.
Courses should include chemistry, natural science, molecular biology, math, computer science, and physics, as well as corresponding lab work. Some labs will hire students or recent graduates, provided they demonstrate decorum and competence in a professional setting; this can be a great learning experience for aspiring biochemists.
More advanced lab jobs typically call for a Master's in a related discipline, but becoming a straight-up biochemist conducting independent research requires a PhD. It's common for scientists to pursue graduate programs that allow them to conduct research on a specific subject and publish their findings. Graduate programs in the sciences tend to encourage further exploration of one's chosen discipline and can be a great option for those looking to work in the field on their own terms.
Besides conducting research and contributing to industry, biochemistry is all about understanding the relationship between living things and the processes inside them. If this process of continuous discovery appeals to you, think about pursuing a career in one of the branches of biochemistry.
For more information, please follow the links below:
- The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is an international organization that aims to promote understanding of the molecular nature of life processes.
- ACS Division of Biological Chemistry is a division of the American Chemical Society focused on using chemistry to understand biological processes and harnessing them for the common good.
- The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology promotes research and education in biochemistry and molecular biology throughout the world.