A biochemist is a scientist primarily concerned with the chemistry of biological processes. The four main branches of biochemistry are: a) nucleic acids, b) proteins , c) carbohydrates , and d) lipids . Most biochemists will generally specialize in one of these areas. The training and scientific focus of a biochemist is what distinguishes him or her from others in related disciplines (molecular genetics, cell biology, analytic chemistry, and biophysics). Biochemists deal chiefly with scientific research of specific biochemical structures, interactions, or reactions. Two specific examples of research biochemists are enzymologists, who study catalytic proteins, and analytical biochemists, who may, for example, develop new DNA separation technologies.

Minimal training for a technician-level position in biochemistry generally requires a B.S. in biochemistry or chemistry, while those wishing more professional autonomy should attain a graduate degree. Ph.D.-level biochemists achieve the greatest autonomy. Before attaining their first independent position they will usually undergo additional training after completion of their in Ph.D., a postdoctoral position.

Biochemists work in the biopharmaceutical and agricultural biotechnology industries, academia, clinical laboratories, and a variety of regulatory and military posts in government.

SEE ALSO Biotechnology ; Carbohydrates ; DNA ; Lipids ; Pharmacologist

Michael L. Gleason


American Chemical Society: ChemCenter . <> .

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