Biochemical Engineering

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Biochemical Engineering

Postby SierraCupp567 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:20 am

I am interested in this field and would like to know more about it from someone with experience. If anyone is willing to answer these questions I would really appreciate it:
What was college and training like?
What was the hardest part of earning your degree?
How long were you in school?
What is it like to work in the field?
How much time do you spend on research?
How much time is for experimenting?
Thank you very much!
SierraCupp567
 
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Project Question: I am interested in studying to become a biochemical engineer and would like to ask someone what it is really like to work in the field.
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Re: Biochemical Engineering

Postby SciB » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:49 pm

Hi Sierra,

My undergraduate major was chemistry and I have a PhD in biochemistry, so a good part of my training is similar to what you are interested in. Most of your questions are subjective and one person’s response will be very different from another’s depending on your native skill. I’m good in the lab but not so good in math, so that is why I did not consider engineering. I’ve worked in academic medical research for over 20 years and discovering how to make new compounds and treatments to cure people’s illness is what I really like doing. Our lab actually does quite a bit of engineering in the sense that we develop new diagnostic devices based on our research and create new nanomaterials for targeted drug delivery.

What was college and training like? Difficult, naturally, but intensely interesting because the medical college where I got my degree was very focused on research and evidence-based medicine.

What was the hardest part of earning your degree? To do a good PhD project you have to pick a topic that has not been done before and ask a question that is testable. Designing the experiments and making them work is what most people will tell you is the hardest part of getting the degree.

How long were you in school? 5 years for the PhD

What is it like to work in the field? The science is great fun and exciting, but if you work in an academic lab you have to get your own funding to do the work and that means endless hours spent writing grants, which is NOT fun. Working for a company would have been much easier since funding would have been provided, but the freedom to follow your hunches and instinct is often lacking in a commercial setting.

How much time do you spend on research? 100%. You decide how many hours that you spend per week, but I can tell you it’s way more than 40.

How much time is for experimenting? Sadly, I don’t get to do much bench work anymore. Our grad students, post-docs and techs have all the fun while I sit at the computer writing papers, grants and reports.

Hope this helps you make a good decision. Maybe we have some engineers among the experts who can chime in with their experiences.

Best wishes,

Sybee
SciB
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