What do Biochemical Engineers do?

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Confer with research and biomanufacturing personnel to ensure the compatibility of design and production.
  • Design or direct bench or pilot production experiments to determine the scale of production methods that optimize product yield and minimize production costs.
  • 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.
  • Consult with chemists or biologists to develop or evaluate novel technologies.
  • Advise manufacturing staff regarding problems with fermentation, filtration, or other bioproduction processes.
  • 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.
  • Communicate with suppliers regarding the design or specifications of bioproduction equipment, instrumentation, or materials.
  • Design processes to manufacture synthetic molecules for applications such as pharmaceuticals or pesticides.
  • 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.
  • Develop toxicological or environmental testing processes to measure chemical toxicity or environmental impact.
  • Participate in equipment or process validation activities.
  • Develop statistical models or simulations of biochemical production, using statistical or modeling software.
  • Develop processes or products, such as natural recovery monitoring, in-situ capping or treatment, or sediment removal, to treat contamination of subaqueous sediment.
  • Prepare piping or instrumentation diagrams or other schematics for proposed process improvements, using computer-aided design software.
  • Create simulations or models to predict the impact of environmental factors, such as pollutants, climate change, or environmental remediation efforts.
  • Design products to measure or monitor airborne pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, or particulate matter.
  • Collaborate in the development or delivery of biochemical manufacturing training materials.
  • Develop experiments to determine production methods that minimize pollution or waste.
  • Review existing biomanufacturing processes to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Review existing manufacturing processes to identify opportunities for yield improvement or reduced process variation.

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Necessary Skills

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Writing
  • Operations Analysis
  • Speaking
  • Active Listening