A biochemistry lab is a facility in which people can perform tasks related to the study of biochemistry. Biochemistry labs have equipment which can be used to explore various topics in biochemistry, along with space for storage of specimens, experiments, and other activities. Such labs can be found in colleges and universities with biochemistry departments, along with institutions which perform biochemistry research, and as standalone structures which perform research and analysis. Basic facilities for biochemistry can also be found in some criminal laboratories, as many topics in biochemistry are useful in the analysis and evaluation of evidence.
Biochemistry is a science which involves the examination of various chemical processes as they are found in living organisms. These can range from the processes involved in cell division to the signals sent by neurons to coordinate the workings of the nervous system. Many tasks in biochemistry have to take place in a laboratory environment with special equipment, because there is no other way to study biochemical processes which take place on the cellular or even molecular level.
A typical biochemistry lab includes workbenches for people to use, with equipment like spectrometers, microscopes, DNA sequencers, imagers, chromatographs, computers, and electrophoresis equipment, along with tools which can be used to manipulate samples. The lab also has protections such as fume hoods and isolation boxes to protect people from hazardous substances, along with storage space and specially equipped facilities like cold rooms and negative pressure rooms. The biochemistry lab may be attached to offices used by scientists affiliated with the lab.
At colleges and universities, a biochemistry lab can be used for instruction, with students being obliged to spend time in the lab working on projects and developing hands-on experience. College labs can also be used for research by graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Scientific institutions maintain labs for research and analysis of samples, from suspect viruses involved in an epidemic to new species of plants.
Some biochemistry labs focus on analysis of materials by request, handling materials such as samples from patients with medical problems, evidence from crime scenes, or DNA samples which need to be processed. These labs charge fees for handling such materials and generating reports. They may serve a large area, handling materials from a variety of sources, or they may only offer their services to specific companies and individuals. This type of biochemistry lab may have additional concerns such as security of evidence and patient privacy which must be addressed with lab protocols.