Carlos J. Bustamante was born in 1951 in Lima, Peru. Inspired by the story of Santiago Ramon y Cajal, a Spanish neuroscientist who won the Nobel prize in 1906, Carlos allowed his interest in science to grow. He earned a bachelors degree in biology at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia an a masters in biochemistry at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. He then attended the University of California - Berkeley and obtained a Ph. D. in Biophysics in 1981.
After a post-doc at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Dr. Bustamante began work at the University of New Mexico from 1982-1990 and then moved to the University of Oregon.
Dr. Bustamante's work is on the physical forces behind the functioning and replication of DNA molecules. Using atomic force microscopes and laser tweezers he and his research group have explored the subtle operations of DNA molecules as they have tested and manipulated individual molecules pioneering many new techniques in order to study molecules one at a time.
Since 1998 Dr. Carlos J. Bustamante has held joint appointments at the University of California - Berkely being a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, a Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Physics. In addition he serves as the Director of the Advanced Microscopies Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
He was elected as an APS Fellow in 1995 and received the Richtmyer Award from the AAPT in 2005. Dr. Bustamante is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.