Biochemist/ Molecular Biologist

Research the chemistry of living organisms to improve medicine, veterinary science, agriculture, environmental science and manufacturing.

Biochemist/ Molecular Biologist

Biochemists and Molecular Biologists study how living systems operate on a cellular scale, using a variety of methodologies and instrumentation. They try to understand how cells work, and to use this knowledge to understand how to treat disease, how plants make food, and to improve our overall quality of life.

Molecular Biologists and Biochemists often take a reductionist approach to understand the function of individual proteins in a cell, be it from a human, plant or microorganism. “Wet lab” experimentation is a defining feature of these roles. Increasingly, molecular biologists and biochemists are part of a multidisciplinary team, involving chemists, structural biologists, systems biologists and physiologists. Ideally, knowledge gleaned at the protein and cellular scale can be applied and understood in the context of the whole organism, the population, and even the ecosystem.

In the main, biochemists and molecular biologists are employed in the life sciences sector, with research and development roles in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Specific fields include vaccine production, drug testing, food quality control, and toxicology. Other individuals work in research institutions, in the tertiary education sector or hospital-affiliated laboratories.

See below for career pathway and salary information for biochemists and molecular biologists in Australia.

For detailed descriptions of the rich variety of interesting career opportunities for biochemistry and molecular biology graduates, visit the New Scientist careers pages.
Biochemist/ Molecular Biologist

Roles and responsibilities

As a Biochemist, you will work in scientific research institutes, universities, and federal, state and territory government organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Biochemists also work in medical research centres and hospital laboratories, and for food processing or drug manufacturing companies.
 
Due to the high degree of specialisation required in this field, completion of a postgraduate degree is generally required for advancement to senior scientific positions.
 
Employment is affected by factors such as the amount of funding provided for research in both the public and private sectors, and the general level of economic activity. Competition for jobs is strong.
Biochemists: 
  • study the chemical processes which occur within individual cells
  • study the processes, such as digestion and growth, which involve whole organisms
  • undertake detailed chemical analysis using sophisticated instruments and techniques
  • prepare or supervise the preparation of, scientific reports and papers for journals based on observations and experiments

Source: myFuture

As a Biochemist, you will work in scientific research institutes, universities, and federal, state and territory government organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Biochemists also work in medical research centres and hospital laboratories, and for food processing or drug manufacturing companies.
 
Due to the high degree of specialisation required in this field, completion of a postgraduate degree is generally required for advancement to senior scientific positions.
 
Employment is affected by factors such as the amount of funding provided for research in both the public and private sectors, and the general level of economic activity. Competition for jobs is strong.
Biochemists: 
  • study the chemical processes which occur within individual cells
  • study the processes, such as digestion and growth, which involve whole organisms
  • undertake detailed chemical analysis using sophisticated instruments and techniques
  • prepare or supervise the preparation of, scientific reports and papers for journals based on observations and experiments

Source: myFuture

Salary Information

As a biochemist and molecular biologist you can expect an annual salary of $108,000 (+ bonus) as the average across all industries and experience levels, with a salary growth of ~2.0% per year. The typical entry level salary of scientists commences at $75,000 and ranges up to $130,000 for experienced workers. 
Postgraduate Courses To Become

Biochemist/ Molecular Biologist

Research courses to pursue this career

Research study is generally required for this occupation.

Relevant research courses include: