Carlos Bustamante: Single Molecule Manipulation in Biochemistry

Part I: Single Molecule Manipulation in Biochemistry: When Less Means More

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Lecture Overview

Dr. Bustamante begins his talk by explaining why one would wish to study biochemical reactions at the level of single molecules. He explains that many processes within the cell are carried out by very few molecules. By studying single molecules, it is possible to obtain details about the mechanism of a reaction that cannot be ascertained by studying a population of molecules.

Bustamante goes on to describe the technique of optical tweezers and how it can be used to manipulate single molecules. His lab has successfully used this method to follow DNA transcription one molecule at a time and RNA translation one codon at a time. In both cases, single molecule studies provided detailed information about complex biochemical processes.

Speaker Bio
Dr. Bustamante received his B.S. in biology from Cayetano Heredia Universtiy in Lima, Peru, and his M.S. in biochemistry from San Marcos University, also in Lima. He then moved to the University of California, Berkeley where here completed his Ph.D. in biophysics.

Currently, Dr. Bustamante is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, Physics, and Chemistry at UC Berkeley. His lab uses novel methods to visualize and manipulate single molecules of DNA, RNA and protein to better understand how just a few molecules can carry out complex processes within a cell.

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