Freelance scientific researcher on Kolabtree Natasha Beeton provides a quick guide on the role of biochemists, how to hire a biochemistry consultant and how much it costs.
Biochemistry is a fundamental science that lies at the heart of our search for understanding how living organisms function. It comprises the study of biological processes on the cellular and molecular level. These processes include metabolism, cell development, cell differentiation, disease, heredity, and immune response, among many others. Biochemistry is an inherently broad field with a range of applications.
What does a biochemist do?
Most biochemists work in basic or applied research. Those in applied research use learnings from basic research to develop new techniques, processes, devices, or products.There are different types of biochemists based on their field of speciality:
- Clinical Biochemists: Use samples from patients to research, diagnose,and treat disease.
- Industrial Biochemists: Apply biochemistry to the manufacture of goods (e.g., monitoring parts of a food manufacturing process or providing specialist quality control and product safety testing).
- Research Biochemists: Perform laboratory research to further understanding of biological processes (e.g., researching the signaling pathways involved in cell differentiation).
- Analytical Biochemists: Use sophisticated equipment to analyze biological samples to determine the identity and quantity of substances they contain (e.g., testing an athlete’s blood sample for anabolic steroids).
- Medical Biochemists: Focus on medical applications of biochemistry (e.g., researching the pathogenesis of disease, uncovering biomarkers of cancer, or examining the effects of drugs on the human body).
- Nutritional Biochemists: Investigate how the body uses different foods to derive energy and nutrients and how different foodsand supplements promote health or contribute to disease.
- Plant Biochemists: Investigate the cellular and molecular processes in plants.
- Environmental Biochemists: Investigate the interplay between the environment and living organisms (e.g., studying the effects of soil pollutants on human and animal health).
- Agricultural Biochemists: Use biochemistry to improve agricultural production (e.g., using genetic engineering of plant crops to withstand drought).
The different roles that biochemists play can include the following:
- Applying for research grants
- Designing and conducting basic and applied research projects
- Managing and supervising laboratory teams
- Going out into the field to collect samples
- Preparing research reports and journal articles
- Presenting research findings to colleagues and stakeholders
- Extracting, synthesizing, and analyzing nucleic acids, enzymes, signaling factors, toxins, and other molecules
- Employing sophisticated laboratory instruments such as electron microscopes, mass spectrometers, and next-generation sequencers
- Using technical software and tools for modeling, visualization, and data analysis
- Developing new products and checking the production process for safety and quality
- Developing new chemical formulations and processes
- Helping to develop and test medical devices
- Troubleshooting problems with laboratory protocols and equipment
- Teaching undergraduates and graduates at colleges and universities
- Consulting in their field of expertise
Most experts in biochemistry will have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (BSc) in biochemistry or an allied field such as biology or chemistry, while certain roles and responsibilities require in-service training or further postgraduate studies up to Ph.D. level.
Most biochemists work in the life sciences sector for pharmaceutical, agricultural, food & beverage, and biotechnology companies;for national health services, government departments, and environmental agencies;as well as research institutes,hospitals, private laboratories, universities, and colleges.Some biochemists work as patent examiners for legal firms or intellectual property offices.
The job titles of biochemistry experts vary according to the nature of their roles and specializations. These include e.g., Senior Scientist, Analytical Biochemist, Protein Biochemist, Postdoctoral Fellow, and Senior Research Associate.
How much does it cost to hire a biochemistry consultant?
To hire a freelance biochemist, the fee generally ranges from USD 40−150 per hour depending on the skills required and the level of experience needed. For example, troubleshooting a standard laboratory protocol may cost less than consulting regarding product R&D.
The hourly fee can be negotiated upfront based on the estimated number of project hours, or a flat fee (for projects of a defined scope) can be discussed. In this way, Kolabtree provides a cost-effective and convenient platform to collaborate with biochemistry experts.
Tips on writing a job post to hire a freelance consultant biochemist
To attract the best freelancers, ensure that your project description is informative and the scope is well defined. You will need to provide information on the following:
- Skills required (e.g., expertise in protein expression)
- What the project area is (e.g.,comparing protein expression between diseased samples and healthy controls)
- What the project entails (e.g., consulting regarding the best techniques to use)
- What the deliverables are (be specific about what you need the outputs to be)
- Duration of the project (provide an estimate of how many hours work you will need per week/by when you need the project to be completed)
- By when you need to hire (having more leeway on this will give you more time to choose the best expert for your needs)
- Your budget (per hour or fixed fee)
If you are unsure what exactly is required, you can always post an initial version of your project and discuss further details with freelancers once you post your project. Provide as much detail as possible in your first draft so that freelancers can send you realistic estimates of fees.
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