Carnegie Mellon University
March 14, 2014

Press Release: Biological Physicist Carlos Bustamante To Deliver Carnegie Mellon's 2014 Buhl Lecture March 25

Contact: Jocelyn Duffy / 412-268-9982 /

Carlos BustamantePITTSBURGH—Carlos Bustamante, best known for his pivotal work using laser tweezers to measure the forces in DNA, will present Carnegie Mellon University's annual Buhl Lecture at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 25 in the Mellon Institute Auditorium, 4400 Fifth Ave., Oakland. His lecture "Biochemistry and Biophysics One Molecule at a Time: When Less is More," is free and open to the public.

Within all living cells is a network of complex molecular machines that carry out the functions essential for survival. Understanding these physical forces is key to understanding how cells work. Bustamante, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed novel methods that use magnetic beads, atomic force microscopes and laser tweezers to measure and manipulate the forces within DNA and other macromolecules.

Bustamante was the first to use laser tweezers to trap and stretch DNA molecules. This allowed his research group to measure the torsional elasticity of DNA and later study the motion of DNA polymerase as it rebuilds a single strand of DNA into double-stranded DNA, providing insight into DNA replication.

In his lecture, Bustamante will discuss how forces can impact molecular behavior and the methods his lab has been using to study the forces generated during molecular interactions.

Bustamante also is a professor of molecular and cell biology and a professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley and has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 2000. He has received the Alexander Hollaender Award in Biophysics from the National Academy of Science, the Hans Neurath Prize from the Protein Society and the American Physical Society's Biological Physics Prize.

Sponsored by the Department of Physics, the Buhl Lecture is funded under the auspice of the Buhl Professorship in Theoretical Physics, which was established in 1961 by The Buhl Foundation.


Carolos Bustamante (pictured above) will lecture on "Biochemistry and Biophysics One Molecule at a Time: When Less is More" at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 25 in the Mellon Institute Auditorium.