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RESEARCHER, BIOPHYSICS: Working With Proteins

About this video 

Venky, a Post Doctoral Researcher in Biophysics, describes his research, what a typical day looks like, his career path. and what he knows now about his field that he didn't know when he first started. Venky also explains how Post Docs earns their living while doing research.

Degree: Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Job Title: Post Doctoral Researcher
Employer: University of Iowa

Job Summary: Biologist, Biochemist, Biophysicist, Researcher

Job Description

Biologist, biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes such as cell development, growth, and heredity.

Biochemists and biophysicists also use electron microscopes, lasers, and other laboratory instruments and equipment to carry out their research. Biochemists and biophysicists use advanced technologies to conduct scientific experiments and analysis. For example, they use computer modeling software to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins and other molecules. Biochemists and biophysicists involved in biotechnology research use chemical enzymes to synthesize recombinant DNA.

Most biochemists and biophysicists work on teams. Research projects are often interdisciplinary, and biochemists and biophysicists frequently work with experts in other fields, such as physics, chemistry, computer science, and engineering.

On-the-Job Training

Moderate-term on-the-job training

Additional Info

Most biochemistry and biophysics Ph.D. holders begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research.

Postdoctoral positions frequently offer the opportunity to publish research findings. A solid record of published research is essential to get a permanent position doing basic research, especially for those seeking a permanent college or university faculty position.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
Confirm
$45,000 - $145,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
25 to 31 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Full-time
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Office, Indoor, Hospital / Clinic
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Detail oriented, Problem solving skills, Analytical skills, Written communication skills, Verbal communication skills, Organizational skills, Mathematical skills

Educational Path

Education requirement
Education Requirement
Doctorate
View Detailed Career Data

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='560'>I</span> <span m='810'>work</span> <span m='1060'>as</span> <span m='1160'>a</span> <span m='1350'>post-doc</span> <span m='2490'>researcher</span> <span m='3190'>at</span> <span m='3320'>the</span> <span m='3570'>University</span> <span m='4520'>of</span> <span m='4770'>Iowa.</span> <span m='5750'>I</span> <span m='5850'>work</span> <span m='6140'>on</span> <span m='7570'>finding</span> <span m='8340'>the</span> <span m='8510'>energetics</span> <span m='9050'>of</span> <span m='9340'>the</span> <span m='9780'>protein</span> <span m='10220'>folding.</span> <span m='11150'>So,</span> <span m='12010'>how</span> <span m='12270'>do</span> <span m='12500'>proteins</span> <span m='13050'>actually</span> <span m='13450'>interact</span> <span m='13920'>with</span> <span m='14070'>other</span> <span m='14240'>proteins</span> <span m='14670'>which</span> <span m='14840'>is</span> <span m='15120'>essential</span> <span m='15870'>for</span> <span m='17000'>how</span> <span m='17240'>they</span> <span m='17380'>function.</span> <span m='20616'>Proteins</span> <span m='21050'>are</span> <span m='21120'>essentially</span> <span m='21640'>the</span> <span m='21900'>molecules</span> <span m='22560'>which</span> <span m='22770'>actually</span> <span m='23620'>end</span> <span m='23880'>up</span> <span m='24630'>giving</span> <span m='25070'>us</span> <span m='25300'>functions,</span> <span m='25850'>whatever</span> <span m='26170'>function</span> <span m='26540'>we</span> <span m='26650'>do.</span> </p><p><span m='27340'>We</span> <span m='27510'>digest,</span> <span m='28170'>and</span> <span m='30580'>all</span> <span m='30780'>of</span> <span m='30890'>the</span> <span m='31070'>cellular</span> <span m='31480'>functions</span> <span m='32159'>as</span> <span m='32299'>a</span> <span m='32380'>human</span> <span m='32720'>being</span> <span m='33220'>is</span> <span m='33830'>basically</span> <span m='34310'>done</span> <span m='34520'>by</span> <span m='34700'>protein.</span> <span m='37050'>I</span> <span m='37160'>think</span> <span m='37350'>it's</span> <span m='37490'>essential</span> <span m='37970'>to</span> <span m='38070'>understand</span> <span m='40830'>what</span> <span m='41650'>proteins</span> <span m='42050'>do</span> <span m='42380'>and</span> <span m='42490'>how</span> <span m='42710'>they</span> <span m='42850'>do</span> <span m='43030'>it.</span> <span m='43290'>So</span> <span m='43710'>basically,</span> <span m='44380'>I'm</span> <span m='44510'>looking</span> <span m='44750'>at</span> <span m='45050'>thermodynamics</span> <span m='46851'>of</span> <span m='47230'>protein</span> <span m='47550'>polling.</span> </p><p><span m='48170'>So</span> <span m='48900'>I</span> <span m='49880'>start</span> <span m='50080'>my</span> <span m='50210'>day</span> <span m='50520'>with</span> <span m='51200'>planning</span> <span m='51590'>my</span> <span m='51730'>experiments.</span> <span m='54360'>In</span> <span m='54540'>the</span> <span m='54640'>morning</span> <span m='56190'>at</span> <span m='56310'>9:00.</span> <span m='57110'>It's</span> <span m='57300'>very</span> <span m='57500'>flexible</span> <span m='57910'>in</span> <span m='57990'>my</span> <span m='58400'>laboratory,</span> <span m='58930'>so</span> <span m='59260'>I</span> <span m='59380'>end</span> <span m='59670'>up</span> <span m='60400'>going</span> <span m='60610'>there at</span> <span m='60890'>9</span> <span m='61280'>or</span> <span m='61440'>10,</span> <span m='62240'>it</span> <span m='62350'>doesn't</span> <span m='62580'>matter.</span> <span m='63200'>I</span> <span m='63370'>start</span> <span m='63830'>working</span> <span m='64239'>with</span> <span m='64680'>the</span> <span m='64810'>plan.</span> <span m='65800'>Then</span> <span m='66090'>I</span> <span m='66480'>start</span> <span m='67010'>working</span> <span m='67360'>on</span> <span m='67480'>it,</span> <span m='68730'>another</span> <span m='68980'>day</span> <span m='69430'>but</span> <span m='69600'>when ever it</span> <span m='69850'>finishes</span> <span m='70330'>so,</span> <span m='71160'>it</span> <span m='71280'>can</span> <span m='71500'>be</span> <span m='72000'>long</span> <span m='72270'>days</span> <span m='72520'>sometimes.</span> <span m='73260'>So</span> <span m='73900'>I</span> <span m='74020'>go</span> <span m='74160'>back</span> <span m='74340'>home</span> <span m='74570'>at</span> <span m='74650'>like</span> <span m='74990'>6</span> <span m='75490'>most</span> <span m='75970'>of the days,</span> <span m='76140'>or</span> <span m='76860'>7.</span> </p><p><span m='77540'>Did</span> <span m='77690'>my</span> <span m='77840'>undergrad</span> <span m='78320'>in</span> <span m='78490'>biotechnology</span> <span m='79720'>in</span> <span m='80390'>India</span> <span m='81470'>and</span> <span m='82140'>I've</span> <span m='82290'>moved</span> <span m='82620'>to</span> <span m='82710'>the</span> <span m='82790'>US</span> <span m='83350'>for</span> <span m='83900'>doing</span> <span m='84630'>my</span> <span m='84750'>grad</span> <span m='84980'>school.</span> <span m='85840'>And</span> <span m='86950'>I</span> <span m='86990'>actually</span> <span m='87290'>did it in</span> <span m='87920'>UC</span> <span m='88270'>Irvine,</span> <span m='89632'>Southern</span> <span m='89990'>California.</span> <span m='91920'>Finished</span> <span m='92220'>my</span> <span m='92340'>graduation,</span> <span m='93220'>then</span> <span m='93400'>I'm</span> <span m='93640'>doing</span> <span m='94070'>my</span> <span m='94250'>second</span> <span m='94580'>post-doc</span> <span m='94980'>now.</span> <span m='95440'>I've</span> <span m='95610'>moved</span> <span m='95870'>to</span> <span m='97390'>Carnegie</span> <span m='97690'>Mellon</span> <span m='98240'>for</span> <span m='98420'>doing</span> <span m='99810'>NB</span> <span m='100080'>simulations,</span> <span m='100840'>then</span> <span m='101000'>I</span> <span m='101190'>moved</span> <span m='101490'>to</span> <span m='102770'>University</span> <span m='103150'>of</span> <span m='103240'>Iowa</span> <span m='103690'>to</span> <span m='104200'>continue</span> <span m='104580'>doing</span> <span m='105180'>more</span> <span m='105540'>NB</span> <span m='105800'>simulations</span> <span m='106390'>and</span> <span m='106500'>experiments.</span> <span m='107730'>Yeah,</span> <span m='108180'>I</span> <span m='108410'>am pretty</span> <span m='108840'>boring</span> <span m='109200'>most of the</span> <span m='109640'>time.</span> </p><p><span m='110080'>I</span> <span m='110330'>chose</span> <span m='110650'>to</span> <span m='110760'>do</span> <span m='111090'>my</span> <span m='111780'>graduate</span> <span m='112170'>school</span> <span m='114040'>in</span> <span m='114470'>protein</span> <span m='114970'>folding</span> <span m='115620'>research</span> <span m='116280'>in the</span> <span m='116500'>Biophysical</span> <span m='117110'>Department.</span> <span m='117640'>And</span> <span m='117820'>so</span> <span m='117980'>they</span> <span m='118110'>paid</span> <span m='118390'>my</span> <span m='118510'>tuition,</span> <span m='119690'>they</span> <span m='119840'>paid my</span> <span m='120010'>stipend.</span> <span m='121050'>And</span> <span m='122340'>I</span> <span m='122790'>graduated</span> <span m='123210'>from</span> <span m='123390'>there,</span> <span m='123730'>and</span> <span m='123820'>then</span> <span m='123990'>post-docs</span> <span m='125750'>is</span> <span m='125920'>basically</span> <span m='126720'>getting</span> <span m='127050'>more</span> <span m='127280'>trading</span> <span m='128009'>in</span> <span m='128330'>the</span> <span m='128449'>area</span> <span m='128860'>you're</span> <span m='129070'>interested</span> <span m='129500'>in.</span> </p><p><span m='130270'>So</span> <span m='131590'>you</span> <span m='131820'>can</span> <span m='132760'>talk</span> <span m='132940'>to</span> <span m='133030'>professors,</span> <span m='133590'>and</span> <span m='133890'>they</span> <span m='134260'>paid</span> <span m='134580'>from</span> <span m='134850'>their</span> <span m='135070'>grants</span> <span m='136130'>to</span> <span m='136560'>work</span> <span m='136820'>on</span> <span m='136990'>certain</span> <span m='137250'>projects,</span> <span m='138020'>which</span> <span m='139440'>might</span> <span m='139690'>be</span> <span m='139860'>their</span> <span m='140180'>idea,</span> <span m='140620'>your</span> <span m='140820'>idea,</span> <span m='141260'>of</span> <span m='141830'>whatever</span> <span m='142280'>it</span> <span m='142370'>is,</span> <span m='142770'>you</span> <span m='143170'>work</span> <span m='143440'>on</span> <span m='143530'>that</span> <span m='143680'>research</span> <span m='144140'>for</span> <span m='144900'>several</span> <span m='145230'>years.</span> <span m='145580'>You</span> <span m='145790'>publish</span> <span m='146140'>papers,</span> <span m='146670'>and</span> <span m='147150'>you</span> <span m='147290'>get</span> <span m='147480'>paid the</span> <span m='147750'>entire</span> <span m='148170'>time.</span> </p><p><span m='149430'>When</span> <span m='149600'>I</span> <span m='149670'>first</span> <span m='150010'>started,</span> <span m='154840'>I</span> <span m='155080'>had</span> <span m='155210'>no</span> <span m='155330'>idea</span> <span m='155590'>what</span> <span m='155720'>I'm</span> <span m='155840'>going</span> <span m='155960'>to</span> <span m='156030'>do,</span> <span m='156440'>basically.</span> <span m='156960'>So</span> <span m='157080'>this</span> <span m='157240'>is</span> <span m='157360'>what</span> <span m='157590'>was</span> <span m='157780'>interesting</span> <span m='158350'>to</span> <span m='158470'>me,</span> <span m='158910'>at</span> <span m='159110'>that</span> <span m='159290'>point</span> <span m='159520'>of</span> <span m='159620'>time.</span> <span m='160130'>So</span> <span m='160380'>I</span> <span m='160490'>chose</span> <span m='160930'>to</span> <span m='161060'>do</span> <span m='162250'>protein</span> <span m='162620'>folding</span> <span m='162960'>studies,</span> <span m='163590'>and</span> <span m='164940'>then</span> <span m='165400'>slowly</span> <span m='165940'>I</span> <span m='165990'>realized</span> <span m='166660'>there's</span> <span m='167860'>so</span> <span m='168130'>many</span> <span m='168750'>aspects</span> <span m='169280'>of</span> <span m='169390'>protein</span> <span m='169730'>folding</span> <span m='170080'>which</span> <span m='170220'>has</span> <span m='170420'>not</span> <span m='170670'>been</span> <span m='170860'>studied</span> <span m='171340'>yet.</span> <span m='172220'>And</span> <span m='173010'>which</span> <span m='173610'>I</span> <span m='173780'>could</span> <span m='173970'>contribute</span> <span m='174670'>from</span> <span m='175230'>my</span> <span m='176180'>training</span> <span m='176640'>and</span> <span m='176790'>my</span> <span m='178450'>research</span> <span m='179160'>experience.</span> <span m='182900'>I'm</span> <span m='183390'>trying</span> <span m='183840'>to</span> <span m='183960'>become</span> <span m='184390'>a</span> <span m='184500'>faculty</span> <span m='185010'>someday.</span> <span m='187230'>That</span> <span m='187660'>was</span> <span m='188460'>definitely</span> <span m='188950'>not</span> <span m='189180'>an</span> <span m='189260'>option</span> <span m='189560'>when</span> <span m='189860'>I</span> <span m='190160'>started.</span> </p>","file":{"id":361808,"video_id":"3247900586001","name":"2132-Venky-p-Researche-rBiophysics","duration":191426,"thumbnail_url":null}});

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