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Biochemical Engineers Career

Career Description

Develop usable, tangible products, using knowledge of biology, chemistry, or engineering. Solve problems related to materials, systems, or processes that interact with humans, plants, animals, microorganisms, or biological materials.

What Job Titles Biochemical Engineers Might Have

  • Engineering Director
  • Process Engineer
  • Research Associate
  • University Extension Specialist

What Biochemical Engineers Do

  • Maintain databases of experiment characteristics or results.
  • Read current scientific or trade literature to stay abreast of scientific, industrial, or technological advances.
  • Develop methodologies for transferring procedures or biological processes from laboratories to commercial-scale manufacturing production.
  • Prepare technical reports, data summary documents, or research articles for scientific publication, regulatory submissions, or patent applications.
  • Devise scalable recovery, purification, or fermentation processes for producing proteins or other biological substances for human or animal therapeutic use, food production or processing, biofuels, or effluent treatment.
  • Review existing manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for yield improvement or reduced process variation.
  • Develop recovery processes to separate or purify products from fermentation broths or slurries.
  • Design or conduct follow-up experimentation, based on generated data, to meet established process objectives.
  • Develop biocatalytic processes to convert biomass to fuels or fine chemicals, using enzymes of bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms.
  • Confer with research and biomanufacturing personnel to ensure the compatibility of design and production.
  • Design or conduct studies to determine optimal conditions for cell growth, protein production, or protein or virus expression or recovery, using chromatography, separation, or filtration equipment, such as centrifuges or bioreactors.
  • Collaborate with manufacturing or quality assurance staff to prepare product specification or safety sheets, standard operating procedures, user manuals, or qualification and validation reports.
  • Communicate with bioregulatory authorities regarding licensing or compliance responsibilities.
  • Develop bioremediation processes to reduce pollution, protect the environment, or treat waste products.
  • Prepare project plans for biochemical equipment or facility improvements, including time lines, budgetary estimates, or capital spending requests.
  • Advise manufacturing staff regarding problems with fermentation, filtration, or other bioproduction processes.
  • Design or direct bench or pilot production experiments to determine the scale of production methods that optimize product yield and minimize production costs.
  • Communicate with suppliers regarding the design or specifications of bioproduction equipment, instrumentation, or materials.
  • Direct experimental or developmental activities at contracted laboratories.
  • Participate in equipment or process validation activities.
  • Develop statistical models or simulations of biochemical production, using statistical or modeling software.
  • Consult with chemists or biologists to develop or evaluate novel technologies.
  • Recommend biochemical process formulas, instrumentation, or equipment specifications, based on results of bench or pilot experimentation.
  • Prepare piping or instrumentation diagrams or other schematics for proposed process improvements, using computer-aided design software.
  • Lead studies to examine or recommend changes in process sequences or operation protocols.
  • Develop experiments to determine production methods that minimize pollution or waste.
  • Modify or control biological systems to replace, augment, or sustain chemical or mechanical processes.
  • Review existing biomanufacturing processes to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Create simulations or models to predict the impact of environmental factors, such as pollutants, climate change, or environmental remediation efforts.
  • Develop toxicological or environmental testing processes to measure chemical toxicity or environmental impact.
  • Design products to measure or monitor airborne pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, or particulate matter.
  • Develop processes or products, such as natural recovery monitoring, in situ capping or treatment, or sediment removal, to treat contamination of subaqueous sediment.
  • Develop alternative processes to produce crude oil, such as extraction from diatoms or thermochemical conversion of manure or other wastes.

What Biochemical Engineers Should Be Good At

  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Biochemical Engineers Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Biochemical Engineers Need to Learn

  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
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Median Salary: $97,300

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.