College of Chemistry, Berkeley

ChemiCAL Science and Engineering

Bustamante receives honorary degree

Chemistry professor Carlos Bustamante

The University of Chicago confered an honorary degree on chemistry professor Carlos Bustamante in recognition of his significant contributions to his field of study through research and scholarship. The honorary degree was presented on June 10, 2005.

Bustamante, who received a Doctor of Science honorary degree, is also a professor of molecular biology and is the Luis Alvarez professor of physics at Berkeley. Nominated by the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, Bustamante is a pioneer in single molecule studies of nucleic acids and proteins. He is the author of nearly 200 scientific papers, most of which have been published in the journals Science and Nature.

In the early 1980s, he began collaborating with fellow chemistry professor Ignacio Tinoco to probe the structure and organization of macromolecules and supramolecular particles using sophisticated optical techniques.

During his tenure on the faculty of the University of New Mexico, he broadened and deepened this approach, with increasing focus on probing the physical properties of DNA. During the 1990s, while at the University of Oregon, Bustamante became an innovator in the emerging area of single molecule biophysics—the quantitative analysis of the mechano-chemical properties of macromolecules, such as DNA, taken one at a time.

He later extended this approach to systems as diverse as the action of DNA-binding enzymes, such as polymerases and topoisomerases; the forces underlying the folding of RNA molecules; the energy-driven and conformational movements of cytoskeletal motor proteins; and the elasticity of cytoskeletal elements. In the process, Bustamante made fundamental contributions to both the instrumentation and the statistical mechanical tools underlying such analyses.

Bustamante is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

from the University of Chicago website

Related sites:

Carlos Bustamante website