career repository

Biochemists and Biophysicists

By on Dec. 22, 2017

Biochemistry is the branch of science that explores the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. It is a laboratory based science that brings together biology and chemistry. By using chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists can understand and solve biological problems. Biophysics or biological physics is an interdisciplinary science that applies the approaches and methods of physics to study biological systems.
This document includes the following topics:

1.Introduction to Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, and heredity. Biochemists study living organisms' chemical composition and biophysicists investigate their physical principles including electrical and mechanical energy.

  • Biophysicists analyze living cells and are responsible for major advancements in science and medicine, including discoveries in DNA.
  • Biochemists work with the chemical composition of living organisms and perform studies of the chemical processes involved in all basic life functions. Through research and experimentation these professionals provide us more knowledge on genetics and heredity.

2.Education Track
Science stream students’ fresh out of 10+2 with minimum 50% marks can opt for a B.Sc. in Biochemistry. At the Masters level, B.Sc. degree holders can go for an M.Sc in Biochemistry and M.B.B.S degree holders for an MD in the same.Students in bachelor’s degree programs in biochemistry field take courses in mathematics, physics, and computer science in addition to courses in the biological sciences. Courses in mathematics and computer science are important for biochemists and biophysicists. They should be able to perform complex data analysis. Most bachelor's degree programs include required laboratory coursework. Practical lab works are an added advantage for an entry-level position in industry. Students can gain valuable laboratory experience by working as interns with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers.Ph.D. programs include advanced coursework in topics such as toxicology, genetics, and proteomics (the study of proteins). Graduate students do a lot of laboratory research. Ph.D studies provide additional training in research project planning and execution. Biophysicists are interdisciplinary scientists who study the physics of systems on multiple scales from molecular to organismal to population.

Other Specialized skills:

  • Analytical skills. Biochemists and biophysicists must be able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.
  • Communication skills. Biochemists and biophysicists should write and publish reports and research papers, give presentations of their findings, and communicate with team members.
  • Critical-thinking skills. Biochemists and biophysicists draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.
  • Interpersonal skills. Biochemists and biophysicists typically work on research teams and need to work well with others toward a common goal. Many serve as team leaders and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.
  • Math skills. Biochemists and biophysicists regularly use complex equations and formulas in their work; and they need a broad understanding of mathematics, including calculus and statistics.
  • Perseverance. Biochemists and biophysicists need to be thorough in their research and in their approach to problems.Scientific research involves substantial trial and error, and biochemists and biophysicists must not become discouraged in their work.
  • Problem-solving skills. Biochemists and biophysicists use scientific experiments and analysis to find solutions to complex scientific problems.

3.Specialisation or Branches
Biochemists specialization:

Specialization in biochemistry include the following subjects.

  • Enzyme structure and function
  • Macromolecules
  • Biochemical reactions
  • Metabolism
  • Genetics
Biophysics specialization:
The Biophysics specialization will include the following subjects.
  • Neuroscience
  • Systems Biology
  • Bioinformatics and Image processing and analysis
  • Nanophysics (Experimental Techniques, Physical Foundations and Professional Skills)
  • Physics (theoretical, experimental and computational methods)
  • Cell/molecular biology ((Experimental and Theoretical Methods in Biophysics).

Most of the research projects that involve biochemists and biophysicists need the expertise of scientists in multiple fields, such as microbiology, medicine, and chemistry. Along with this major, the molecular biology helps the researches to find best jobs in the industries. Biochemists also collect data for other researchers and scientists, to make them improve the quality of existing drugs, systems or products.

Biochemists and biophysicists can go for in- depth research after completing their basic research during academic courses and they can find faculty positions at colleges and universities. Biochemists and biophysicists with postdoctoral experience after publishing research articles in scientific journals may have a best prospect. The basic research in biochemistry and biophysics is dependent on funds issued from the federal government through the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. There is strong competition among biochemists and biophysicists for research funding.

5.Career Path
Biochemists and biophysicists often work with experts in other fields, such as physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering. Application in the following fields can lead an improvement in the upcoming years.

Medicine: Medical biochemistry seeks to identify the causes of disease, understand their transference from one generation to the other, understand their effect on the body in chemical terms and try and isolate the indicators that signal impending disease. This requires tracking chemical changes through normal bodily functions like muscle contraction, respiration etc.

Agriculture: Biochemists educate the damage that can occur in agricultural field by developing cultivation innovations, improving pest control and improving crop storage.

Nutrition: The diet pattern of the human includes some invariable essentials such as minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. The biochemist’s job is to investigate the effect on the human body in cases of excess or scarcity of these essentials.

  • There are employment opportunities in colleges and universities, hospitals, and pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies.

  • Biochemists conduct studies and tests to discover new products, improve existing products and solve problems in areas such as environmental protection and disease prevention.
  • Biochemists may work in many industries including research, education or product development.
  • Career opportunities in biophysics include medical physics, biotechnology, research positions in the private and public sector, teaching, science writing, and many more.
  • They may work as researchers for government agencies, private research institutes or various industries. They may be employed as faculty at a university or college. In work in medical field to create vaccines and treatments for diseases, as well as develop instruments for identifying and diagnosing disease.

Biochemists and biophysicists typically work in laboratories and offices, to conduct experiments and analyze the results. Most biochemists and biophysicists work on teams. Those who work with dangerous organisms or toxic substances in the laboratory must follow safety procedures to avoid contamination.

  • Biochemists involved in basic research may study the genetic mutations in organisms that lead to cancer and other diseases.
  • Biophysicists may conduct basic research to learn how nerve cells communicate or how proteins work.
To raise funds for their research they submit their research proposals to colleges and universities, private foundations, and the federal government. In the pharmaceutical, food or brewing industries they develop and monitor new products. In a hospital, public health laboratory or research institute they carry out blood test and research on diseases. Their designations are as follows:
  • Analytical chemist.
  • Biomedical scientist.
  • Healthcare scientist, clinical biochemistry.
  • Clinical research associate.
  • Forensic scientist.
  • Physician associate.
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Scientific laboratory technician.