Biochemist Career Information
What a Biochemist does
Biochemists are involved in a wide range of subjects:
• Cell structure and cycle, DNA and RNA structure and metabolism, cell division
• Biochemical reactions
• Biological catalysis, macromolecular structure
• DNA replication
• Metabolism and nutrition
• Protein structure and function, protein-nucleic acid and chemical reactions between proteins
• Functions of brains and Neurochemistry
• Bio enzymes and their functions
• Mechanism of biological functions likes muscle contraction
• Molecular developmental mechanisms that lead to development of different cells from stem cells (stem cells are embryonic cells that can grow into any human cell)
Protein synthesis: Apart from the study of general biochemistry, you can also specialise in Medical Biochemistry, which deals with those biochemical processes and mechanisms that have relevance to treatment and cure of human diseases. Medical biochemists are involved in the study of biochemistry of human diseases, human immunology, reaction of toxic substances on healthy cells, chemical structure and composition of microbial cells, gene therapy, treatment of diseases by protein targeting, and other related subjects.
As a Biochemist, you will mostly work in laboratories of university departments, research and development organisations, medical research organisations, hospitals, and various industries like food processing, pharmaceutical, agricultural, diagnostic, and other related industries.
In university departments, you will work as faculty member (Lecturer, Reader, or Professor), as a Research Assistant or as a Research Scholar. In various research organisations, one begins as a research assistant, research scholar, or junior scientist and then goes on to become Senior Scientist, Principle Scientist, Project Director or Program Director.
Director of a research organisation : In industries, you will mostly find work in research and development functions. You will also have opportunities to work in marketing department of companies involved in diagnostic, food processing, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries.
You can get a job in research and development in:
• University departments
• Biological research and development organisations like Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Chembiotec, and National Centre for Biological Science
• Medical research organisations under Indian Council for Medical Research
• Agricultural research organisations under Indian Council for Agricultural Research
You can also get a job in the Research & Development/ Sales & Marketing departments of:
• Pharmaceutical and Bulk Drug manufacturing companies like Ranbaxy, Torrent
• Food processing companies like Hindustan Lever
• Diagnostic companies like Span, Monozyme
• Hospitals like Apollo, Bombay hospital
• Biotechnology and bioprocess technology based companies like Shanta Biotechnics, National Immunological Ltd. and other related organizations
Biochemistry is an essential part of Life Science or Bioscience. It will bring in enormous changes in the way we live, get medical care and take medicines. Prospects of newer ways of medical care, newer biological and healthcare products are plenty.
We may buy an artificial tissue developed from stem cells to replace any damaged tissue in our body. A protein supplement taken once a day will provide all the proteins we need. We may see a genetically developed cow, which will produce more milk than a normal cow.
Biological research and development of all these products will need Life Scientists in more numbers. So the prospects of all Life Scientists including Biochemists are definitely bright.
Abilities & Traits Required
First of all, you must have a strong interest in Biological Sciences as well as in Chemistry. You should love learning Chemistry and Biology and be able to develop a clear understanding of the principles of Biological Sciences and Chemical Sciences. You should have an analytical and inquisitive mind. Be prepared to study a lot. Study of any Biological Science subject and making a career in this field is real hard work and it takes a long time to build up a career.
Any one of these qualifications will lead you to a career in Biochemistry:
• MSc/PhD in Biochemistry
• MSc/PhD in Molecular Biology
• MSc/PhD in Biotechnology or Genetics
• MD in Biochemistry
• MSc/PhD in Medical Biochemistry
• MSc/ PhD in Biomedical Science
• MPharm/ PhD in Biochemistry
• MSc/PhD in Agricultural Sciences with specialisation in Biochemistry
Your remuneration depends on the organisation you work for. In university departments and research organisations, you will start at Rs 20000-25000 a month as a faculty member or as a junior scientist. You will get about Rs 15000 a month as a research assistant or research scholar.
The maximum remuneration you can earn in these organisations is above Rs 40000 –50000 as per the present scale.
In industries, you may have to start with a slightly lower salary but eventually you will earn much more than those in academic fields. You will begin with about Rs 20000-25000 a month. In senior positions, you could earn anywhere between Rs 50000 -70000 a month.