What they do
Biochemists investigate the chemical structure and processes of individual cells and their components, the organs and tissues in humans, animals, plants, and microorganisms. They study bodily organs and tissues through observation, dissection and microscopic examination. They also undertake detailed chemical analysis using sophisticated instruments and techniques. Biochemists may also study whole-of-organism processes such as digestion and growth. Biochemists may also prepare scientific reports based on their observations and experiments.
Biochemists usually work in scientific research institutes, universities and government organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Biochemists can also work in medical research centres and hospital laboratories and for food processing or drug manufacturing companies.
When working with biological matter biochemists need to use personal protective equipment. Most biochemists work regular business hours, however evening and weekend work may occasionally be required.
Tools and technologies
Biochemists use a range of standard and specialised laboratory equipment. Standard equipment includes microscopes, filters, pumps, evaporators and centrifuges. Many of their experiments are carried out with the aid of computerised machines which can perform complex and specialised tests in a relatively short space of time.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a biochemist you usually need to study a degree majoring in biochemistry, molecular biology, biomedical science or a related area. Completion of a postgraduate qualification may also improve your employment prospects.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.