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Daily Duties & Responsibilities of a Biochemist
Think living organisms on a microscopic level. That's the focus of biochemistry. Biochemists study the chemistry of cells, and the molecules within them, to understand factors that affect a variety of life changes, including genetics, metabolisms, nutrition, growth and aging. This understanding paves the way for advancements in medicine and other healthcare innovations. Because biochemistry is far reaching, biochemists with the proper education and skills have a variety of careers options. Daily duties and responsibilities vary depending on career choices.
One career path involves working as a clinical biochemist. This means a great deal of analytical work using diagnostic equipment to test and analyze patient blood, tissue and body fluid samples to investigate or diagnose illnesses. Daily responsibilities and duties include planning analytical tests, setting up and using the right equipment, data validation and documentation, report writing and sharing findings with supervisors and colleagues. Clinical biochemists may also work with medical teams to determine viable options for treating and caring for patients.
Do certain herbicides inhibit agricultural crop growth? This is a question that a biochemist working in agriculture might answer using applied research. Daily duties and responsibilities for scientific studies include figuring out the research scope, planning each phase of research, deciding on research methods, carrying out or overseeing the research, collecting data and analyzing results. Studies and research projects can be long and arduous, so daily tasks also involve actions to keep the work on track, including meticulous record keeping, data validation, troubleshooting, managing budgets and delivering progress reports.
Crime scene investigators and the scientists they work with collect samples of all kinds to help solve criminal cases. These biochemists collect and analyze biological samples from crime scenes, suspects and criminals. They work with hair, blood, skin, saliva or even unknown substances. Daily duties and responsibilities include managing and storing samples prior to analysis, performing DNA profiles or other analytical tests to identify substances, and documenting and submitting test results to the proper authorities.
Each One Teach One
Some biochemists become teachers in research laboratories, high schools and in colleges and universities. Typical daily duties for biochemist teachers include creating lessons plans, delivering instruction, checking student work, creating and delivering tests, and keeping tabs on student progress. In higher education institutions, biochemistry professors are expected to develop research projects and publish papers based on their work.
- The Career Guide: Biochemistry Jobs
- Institute of Biomedical Science: All About Clinical Chemistry - The Work and Roles of Clinical Chemistry
- Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: Careers in Agriculture
- American Chemical Society: Forensic Chemistry
- Oregon State University Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics: Teaching Responsibilities
Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.