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Biochemist

Biochemists study the chemical and physical principles of living things, and of biological processes such as cell development, growth, and heredity at the molecular level. It is a lab-based science, studying components such as proteins, lipids and organelles, bringing together both chemistry and biology in order to understand and solve problems.

Biochemistry covers a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines. It includes genetics, microbiology, forensics, plant science and medicine. Some biochemists work in research, examining different genetics or drawing out maps of cell structures in various organisms. Biochemists also analyse the complex reactions of living organisms such as metabolism, reproduction and growth.

If you are interested in a career as a biochemist, visit Qualifax (www.qualifax.ie) to search for relevant courses at all levels and entry points.

Some alternative job titles for this role

  • Bioengineer
  • Molecular Biologist
  • Biophysicist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Microbiologist

What the job involves

  • Research on the vital processes of living things, food processes, drugs and other substances on tissues 
  • Study how hormones, vitamins, allergens, minerals and enzymes work on body functions
  • Look at the chemical aspects of the formation of antibodies, and conduct research into the chemistry of cells 
  • Study the chemistry of how normal and abnormal cells behave in areas such as breathing and digestion
  • Study the chemistry of growth, aging and death in living things
  • Most biochemists are employed as researchers in universities, research institutes and large companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals
  • Small companies also employ biochemists to provide specialist services, such as toxicological studies

How your career can develop

Career path options for graduate biochemists are wide and varied; from lab associates to analytical chemists, from biomedical and healthcare researchers to forensic science and toxicology specialists.

Why it matters?

Biochemists at Trinity College Dublin have made a major breakthrough with regard to a fundamental mechanism underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease, which could lead to new forms of therapy for those living with the condition. 

Skills

  • An interest in biology and chemistry
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Independent thinking 
  • Problem-solving
  • Observation skills

Typical employers

  • Universities and research institutes
  • Large companies in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  • Small companies also employ biochemists to provide specialist services, such as toxicological studies
  • Environmental agencies and research bodies
  • Food and agricultural companies

Typical salary

  • Graduate/Starting    €23,000 to €30,000
  • Senior/Potential       up to €100,000+

Typical qualificiations

A bachelor’s degree in biochemistry is the norm. A postgraduate qualification will see a typical biochemistry graduate specialise in a vast range of subjects such as medicine and pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, genetics, cell biology, agricultural science,environmental sciences, and nutrition to name but a few!

Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a PLC qualification in a related course or general science certification or diploma. For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following a PLC qualification, students should visit the CAO course search at Careersportal.ie.
 

Further information