Biochemistry Career Opportunities

What is Biochemistry?

Is the study of the Chemistry of life. It is the science that deals with the chemical process of life.  Biochemists try to describe and explain, in molecular terms, all chemical processes of living cells– Structure-function– Metabolism and regulation including how life began. The principal biomolecules studied by biochemists are: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins, Nucleic acids (DNA & RNA) etc.

What is Biochemistry used for?

Biochemistry is useful to learn about the biological processes taking place inside cells and organisms.

It is also used to study the properties of biological molecules, for a variety of purposes e.g. a Biochemist can study the chemistry and characteristics of the protein that make-up hair called keratin in order to developed a shampoo that enhances the curliness or softness of hair to make women beautiful and attractive!. Biochemists find can find use for various biomolecules e.g. he may use certain lipids as additives to food. Biochemists may also find substitutes for usual biomolecules e. g. to develop artificial sweeteners substituting sucrose (common sugar) or bio-engineer (genetically modify) a bacteria to clean the environment, produce vaccines or drugs to protect against/fight different infectious diseases.

What do I require to study Biochemistry at the University?

To be admitted to study Biochemistry at Makerere University, one needs to have passed and obtained a credit C in Chemistry and D in Biology at A-level.

What does a Biochemist do?

Many biochemists work in chemistry Laboratories. They develop tests used to detect diseases, genetic disorders, and other illnesses. Some may do modeling, which leads them to work with computers (computational biology or bioinformatics). Biochemists isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, fats, DNA, and other molecules. They study biochemical systems in an organisms for instance investigation & identification of metabolic pathways like Glycolysis, TCA cycle, Urea cycle, Gluconeogenesis, Pentose phosphate pathway, Photosynthesis & Nitrogen fixation in plants etc.. Biochemists are also involved in designing vaccines, antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs and pesticides. They are also involved in genetic engineering in medicine, agriculture and environment.

Typically Biochemists work with other scientists and engineers. Some are at Universities  teaching and conducting research.

Where do Biochemists find work after graduation?

They can work in Analytical Laboratories such as at the Government Analytical Laboratories (DGAL) in Wandegeya Kampala.

In various manufacturing industries such as Foods, Beers, and Soft drinks industries.

Also in Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Laboratories , Academic and Research Laboratories.

Biochemists in Hospitals and Clinical Laboratories are responsible for testing patient samples and interpreting the results for medical staff. They work as part of a hospital medical team responsible for investigating and diagnosing patient illnesses.

Who hires or Employs Biochemists in Uganda?

In Pharmaceuticals Industries such (KPI, UPL, QC, Abacus)

In Hospitals/Clinical Laboratories (Mulago, Fertility & Reproduction Centres)

Brewing/Food Processing Industries (UBL, EABL, Diary Corp.)

Health/Agricultural and Technical Research Institutions (UVRI, JCRC, NDA, UIRI, UNBS, NARO)

Water & Sewage Treatment Companies (NWSC)

Universities (MAK, MUST, GU, KY, KIU)

Government Analytical Research (GAL)

Various Careers for Biochemists

Anaesthesiologist - A Physician who specializes in administering medications or other agents that prevent or relieve pain, especially during surgery.

Biochemistry Technologist – Provide technical research and experimental support, examine and analyze body fluids, tissues and cells, prepare specimens for examination, count cells and look for abnormal cells, analyze data, write up reports and may supervise a laboratory.

Biotechnologist Work with living organisms, particularly microorganisms, in industrial processes to create useful products or processes.  There are three main fields:  health and medicine, agriculture and animal husbandry and industry.

Biomedical Engineer - Design new medical monitoring, diagnostic equipment, as well as set up and maintain biomedical equipment, and or analyze and design prosthetic and orthotic devices.

Clinical Biochemist – Working in hospitals and or Laboratories they provide investigative, diagnostic and advisory services to Clinicians and other professionals, as well as work on research projects.

Cytologist - Scientist who studies the structure and function of cells, the examination of tissue samples.

Forensic Scientist – Examine traces of material used as potential evidence in court cases, or used for insurance claims.  Forensic Scientists take the current situation and work backwards to find out what happened.

Formulation Chemist – Works to create products by the mixing of compounds, which do not react.

Geneticist – A Scientist that studies genes and their characteristics, many work in hospital or a Laboratory, in the biotech industry, as a doctor or as a counselor.

Immunologist – A Medical Scientist who specializes in immunology, or the study of the body’s natural defense mechanisms against disease.

Patent Attorney – A registered Attorney or agent employed by an inventor to draft a patent application in a manner that meets the statutory requirements for the grant of a patent.

Perfumer - Mainly works on one of two categories: the creation of perfumes, fragrance for toiletries, or for the creation of scents for products, e.g. deodorants or shampoos.

Pharmacist – A health care professional who prepares and distributes medicine to people, as well as deliver information about medicine.

Quality Assurance Officer – Design, development and implement systems and procedures for ensuring the quality control of a product or situation.  May supervise the procedures and equipment used in manufacturing plants or Laboratories.

Sales Executive – Promote and market products within the science industry.  Products could range from Laboratory equipment to pharmaceuticals.

Toxicologist -  One who studies the nature and effects of poisons and their treatment generally through the examination of tissues, blood and urine, develops new and better ways to determine the potential harmful effects of chemical and physical agents and the amount (dosage) that will  cause these effects.

Information Scientist, Patent Agent or Patent Examiner – Will use their knowledge and expertise to collect, abstract, analyze and organize data to ensure meeting government or industry specifications.

Virologist – A Specialist in the study of viruses and diseases caused by viruses.

There is a wide variety of career options for candidates who complete a relevant qualification in biochemistry, including;

  • Laboratory/Quality Control Manager
  • Public Health Director
  • Biochemist, Pharmaceutical Chemist
  • Geneticist, Toxicologist, Molecular Scientist
  • Agronomist
  • Biochemical Engineer
  • Chemistry Statistician
  • Biochemistry Technologist
  • Forensic Specialist, Bacteriological Technician
  • Industrial Designer
  • Quality Assurance Officer
  • Public Health Inspector
  • Medical Biologist, Geneticist
  • Drug Information Pharmacist
  • Nutrition Researcher
  • Clinical Immunology Technologist
  • Biochemical Technician
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Certified Industrial Hygienist
  • Technical Writer