Professors Carlos Bustamante and John Kuriyan discuss the possibility of creating simple life forms in the laboratory.
Wonderfest, the Bay Area Festival of Science, is held each year in the beginning of November. Enjoy fascinating discussions between world-class scientists on cutting edge topics, as well as other fun exhibitions. Visit Wonderfest.org and join.
Bustamante is professor of molecular and cell biology, physics, and chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, a position he has held since 1998. He received his B.S. degree from Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, his masters in biochemistry from San Marcos University, and his Ph.D. degree in biophysics from UC Berkeley, where he studied with Ignacio Tinoco, Jr. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bustamante studied with Marc Maestre. Before moving to Berkeley, he was an HHMI investigator at the University of Oregon.
Carlos Bustamante uses novel methods of single-molecule visualization, such as scanning force microscopy, to study the structure and function of nucleoprotein assemblies. His laboratory is developing methods of single-molecule manipulation, such as optical tweezers, to characterize the elasticity of DNA, to induce the mechanical unfolding of individual protein molecules, and to investigate the machine-like behavior of molecular motors.
John Kuriyan is currently Chancellor's Professor at the University of California Berkeley in the departments of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) and Chemistry. He is also a Faculty Scientist in Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Kuriyan received his B.S. in chemistry from Juniata College in Pennsylvania, followed by his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Gregory Petsko and Martin Karplus. He did postdoctoral work for one year under Karplus at Harvard before becoming an assistant professor at the Rockefeller University.
Kuriyan's laboratory studies the structure and mechanism of enzymes and other proteins that transduce cellular signals and perform DNA replication. The laboratory primarily uses x-ray crystallography to determine 3-D protein structures as well as biochemical, biophysical, and computational techniques to uncover the mechanisms used by these proteins.
Christopher Fulton McKee is an astrophysicist. McKee obtained a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in 1970 under advisor George Field. In 1974, he was appointed Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Berkeley. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been chair of the UCB Physics Department. He is a former member (1990) and chairman (2000) of the NASA Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey Committee (the "decade review") and former Director of the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at UCB.
McKee performed the first simulations of relativistic counter-streaming plasmas as part of his Ph.D. thesis at Berkeley (1970). He began his study of the interstellar medium by pointing out the existence of reverse shocks in young supernova remnants, and he then analyzed the interaction of a supernova blast wave with interstellar clouds. Since joining the Physics and Astronomy Departments in Berkeley in 1974, he has devoted much of his research to studying processes in the interstellar medium, including evaporation of clouds, the structure of shock waves in atomic and molecular gas, and the dynamics of blast waves in both homogeneous and inhomogeous media. In collaboration with Jeremiah Ostriker (Princeton University), he developed the three-phase model of the interstellar medium, which has been widely used to organize and interpret observational data.
His research on quasars has included development of the relativistic blast wave model for variability, introduction of reverberation mapping to analyze variable emission line profiles, the two-phase model for quasar emission line regions, and the development of the theory of coronae and winds from accretion disks.