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Biochemist/Biophysicist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Studies the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Plant Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Studies physical principles of living cells or organisms and their electrical or mechanical energy, applying methods and knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, or biology.
  • Shares research findings by writing scientific articles or by making presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Prepares reports or recommendations, based upon research outcomes.
  • Teaches or advises undergraduate or graduate students or supervises their research.
  • Manages laboratory teams or monitors the quality of a team's work.
  • Isolates, analyzes, or synthesizes vitamins, hormones, allergens, minerals, or enzymes and determines their effects on body functions.
  • Determines the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules.
  • Develops new methods to study the mechanisms of biological processes.
  • Studies the mutations in organisms that lead to cancer or other diseases.
  • Studies the chemistry of living processes, such as cell development, breathing and digestion, or living energy changes, such as growth, aging, or death.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Pharmaceutical Scientist -- Employed by pharmaceutical companies to study, research and develop new drugs that can treat existing diseases as well as new diseases.
  • Biological Chemist --