Biochemical Engineers

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.

Median Annual Wage: $94,240

Education: Bachelor's degree (71%); Master's degree (14%); Doctoral degree (10%)

Projected Growth: Slower than average (3% to 7%)

Related Job Titles: Process Engineer; Engineering Director

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Biochemical Engineers.

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  • Read current scientific or trade literature to stay abreast of scientific, industrial, or technological advances.
  • 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.
  • Develop biocatalytic processes to convert biomass to fuels or fine chemicals, using enzymes of bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms.
  • Prepare technical reports, data summary documents, or research articles for scientific publication, regulatory submissions, or patent applications.
  • Design or direct bench or pilot production experiments to determine the scale of production methods that optimize product yield and minimize production costs.
  • Confer with research and biomanufacturing personnel to ensure the compatibility of design and production.
  • Develop methodologies for transferring procedures or biological processes from laboratories to commercial-scale manufacturing production.
  • Design or conduct follow-up experimentation, based on generated data, to meet established process objectives.
  • Maintain databases of experiment characteristics or results.
  • Develop recovery processes to separate or purify products from fermentation broths or slurries.
  • Advise manufacturing staff regarding problems with fermentation, filtration, or other bioproduction processes.
  • Consult with chemists or biologists to develop or evaluate novel technologies.
  • Modify or control biological systems to replace, augment, or sustain chemical or mechanical processes.
  • Collaborate with manufacturing or quality assurance staff to prepare product specification or safety sheets, standard operating procedures, user manuals, or qualification and validation reports.
  • Recommend biochemical process formulas, instrumentation, or equipment specifications, based on results of bench or pilot experimentation.
  • Communicate with bioregulatory authorities regarding licensing or compliance responsibilities.
  • Design processes to manufacture synthetic molecules for applications such as pharmaceuticals or pesticides.
  • Communicate with suppliers regarding the design or specifications of bioproduction equipment, instrumentation, or materials.
  • Direct experimental or developmental activities at contracted laboratories.
  • 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.
  • Lead studies to examine or recommend changes in process sequences or operation protocols.
  • Develop alternative processes to produce crude oil, such as extraction from diatoms or thermochemical conversion of manure or other wastes.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Biochemical Engineers.

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Mathematics - Using mathematics to solve problems.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Biochemical Engineers.

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