Biochemical Engineer

Create organic chemicals for agriculture, medicine, and energy.

What does a Biochemical Engineer do?

When you’re a Biochemical Engineer, you create “natural” chemicals. Although the word “chemical” conjures up images of toxic and hazardous substances, like arsenic, bleach, and cyanide — nothing you’d ever dare eat — the truth is that not all chemicals are created equal.

As an Engineer who combines the practices of biological engineering and chemical engineering, you create those chemical products and processes using living organisms. Especially useful in producing food, medicine, and fuel, a Biochemical Engineer may be called on, for instance, to help agricultural companies design all-natural fertilizers, to help pharmaceutical companies create antibiotics, and to help oil companies develop alternative energy sources, such as biofuels.

Like all Engineers, you spend your days as a Biochemical Engineer turning raw materials into practical, problem-solving products. Drawing on your knowledge of math, science, and design, you come up with ideas, develop working designs, and then determine the best ways to manufacture and use final products — typically by drafting computer-aided designs, conducting lab experiments, and building prototypes.

Compared to other brands of engineering, what’s unique about your job, therefore, isn’t the processes. It’s the raw materials you start with, which must be organic. Frequently, for instance, you work with bacteria, plant matter, and animal cells.

In that way, your job is giving living things new lives. Not through reincarnation, of course, but rather through recycling.