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Biochemistry explores the functioning of living organisms from a molecular and cellular perspective. It provides an essential basis for detailed understanding of biology and medicine. The range of biochemical and molecular biology topics covered by units in this discipline includes:
structure and function of important biological macromolecules, such as nucleic acids and proteins;
structure, function and metabolism of amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids and other bio-molecules;
the integration and control of metabolism, by hormonal and other means;
nutrition -- energy, roles of macro- and micro-nutrients, dietary guidelines;
metabolic and genetic basis of disease states.
Many science graduates majoring in biochemistry (which includes molecular biology) find positions in medical research, where there is a high demand for graduates (particularly those with honours degrees). They also find employment in industry, in particular those dealing with biotechnology, medical, pharmaceutical and food products (research and development, quality control, sales and technical services, technical/general manager); education (university teaching and research, school teaching and management); hospitals (dietitians, laboratory analysts, research, management), and government agencies (environmental monitoring, forensic science, health standards monitoring, nutrition, research and development). Some career options available to students include: biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, clinical chemistry, agricultural chemistry, environmental chemistry, nutrition and dietetics, science writing, patent and intellectual property law, marketing and commerce. Entry into some of these areas requires further study after completion of a BSc.
Many professional biochemists and molecular biologists are members of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Because biochemists and molecular biologists work in diverse areas, they often belong also to a society that reflects the emphasis of their employment, for example, the Australian Society for Medical Research.