Biochemistry is the study of living things at the molecular level, focusing mainly on the processes that occur. For example, they may study cell development, how cell structure relates to function, how cells communicate with each other to fight disease or regulate an organism’s development, and how they metabolize food and oxygen. Many biochemists study how pharmaceutical drugs and foods affect an organism’s biology. Some also study how environmental toxins are metabolized, and how they may disrupt biological processes. Because biochemistry encompasses all living things, it’s a very wide field of study with a range of applications in medicine, agriculture, and the environment.
Branches of Biochemistry
Clinical Biochemistry – The practice of laboratory medicine in hospitals and clinics. Practitioners test lab samples for patients to diagnose disease, determine risk, and optimize treatment. Clinical biochemists may also conduct medical research and improve laboratory equipment and practices.
Analytical Biochemistry – Uses sophisticated equipment to analyze biological samples. For example, analytical biochemists separate and test samples to determine the substances they contain, and the quantities of those substances. For example, they might test a blood sample to determine the presence and quantity of steroids or toxins.
Comparative Biochemistry – Compares how different species or classes of organisms perform similar functions, such as how they react to stress or regulate glucose levels. Such comparisons can help us better understand our own biochemistry and health.
Medical Biochemistry – Deals with biochemistry in its medical context. Practitioners study how disease is generated, how cells react to disease, what mutations lead to cancer, how drugs interact with cells, and how nerve signals are affected by chemicals.
Nutritional Biochemistry – Studies how the body derives energy and nutrients from food, and how different diets promote health or contribute to disease.
Plant Biochemistry – Largely deals with photosynthesis – how plants metabolize carbon dioxide and sunlight to create sugars and release oxygen. It also studies how they process pollutants from the air, soil, and water. Some plants can filter out contaminants in the environment and break them down into harmless components. Plant biochemists study how these processes work, which can help restore contaminated sites.
Typical employers of Biochemist In Nigeria
The main employers of biochemistry graduates in the public and private sector in Nigeria include:
Government health and Environment Protection Agencies: Agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) among others. SEE: List of Health Agencies In Nigeria
Research institutes: These include Arable Crops Research Institutes. National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Forestry, Horticulture and Tree Crops Research Institutes, Animal Health Research Institutes, Institute of human virology, Federal College of Freshwater Fisheries Technology (FCFFT), Nigerian Institute for Oceanography, Marine Research and many others. SEE: List Of Environmental Agencies In Nigeria And Their Functions
Universities: Biochemist especially first-class graduates and PhDs holders are in high demand in public and private universities to be engaged as lecturers. Biochemistry is considered one of the top best science course in Nigeria and it plays an important role in a wide variety of areas. Progress in this field has applications that span areas such as agriculture, the environment, medicine, cosmetics, and a variety of others.
Pharmaceutical and industrial companies: Perhaps the biggest single employer of biochemistry graduates in Nigeria is pharmaceutical and industrial companies. Pharmaceutical companies engage the services of biochemist as analyst and sales and or medical representatives. Graduates of Biochemistry are key leaders in the pharmaceutical industry dominated by pharmacists.
Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s): Non Governmental Organizations especially those involved in child health and nutrition employ a good number of biochemists in Nigeria. However, most of these biochemistry graduates would have earned a degree in public health especially MPH. SEE Universities & Schools Offering Public Health in Nigeria
Biochemistry Careers in Nigeria
- Biomedical Engineer
- Cell Biologist
- Chemical Oceanographer
- Clinical Chemist
- Clinical Data Analyst
- Clinical Research Associate
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Clinical Technician
- Crime Lab Assistant
- DNA Analyst
- Food and Drug Inspector
- Food Chemist
- Food Safety Auditor