Stephen Bustin

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Stephen Andrew Bustin (born 1954),[1] PhD, FSB is a British scientist, former professor of molecular sciences at Queen Mary University of London from 2004 to 2012, as well as visiting professor at Middlesex University, beginning in 2006.[2][3] In 2012 he was appointed Professor of Allied Health and Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University.[4] He is known for his research into polymerase chain reaction, and has written a book on the topic, entitled A-Z of Quantitative PCR. This book has been called "the bible of qPCR."[5] After giving testimony about the unreliability of a study that had reported using PCR to detect measles virus RNA in autistic children in the autism omnibus trial,[6] he developed the MIQE guidelines in a 2009 paper published in Clinical Chemistry,[7] the goal of which is to create guidelines for how PCR should be performed to ensure that PCR results are being reliably conducted and interpreted, as well as to make replication of experiments easier. This paper is the fifth most cited one ever to be published in Clinical Chemistry,[8][9] with over 1700 cites on Google Scholar as of September 2013.[10]


He obtained his PhD from Trinity College, Dublin in molecular genetics in 1983. Following post-doctoral research into foot-and-mouth disease virus at the Animal Virus Research Laboratory in Pirbright and molecular technologies at Corporate Research, Amersham International, he became a Senior Research fellow (1989) and a Senior Lecturer (1995) at the London Hospital Medical College.


Following the merger with St Bartholomew's Medical College and Queen Mary University of London he was promoted to Reader in Molecular Medicine in 2002, followed by the award of a personal chair as Professor of Molecular Science in 2004 at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.[11]


His research group’s general areas of interest are the small and large bowel, as well as colorectal cancer with particular emphasis on investigating the process of invasion and metastasis. An important aim is to translate molecular techniques into clinical practice by including molecular parameters into clinical tumor staging.[12] To this end, Bustin has published many papers on PCR techniques,[13][14] in particular reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, the subject of his most cited paper, published in 2000.[15]

Autism omnibus trial[edit]

Bustin testified on behalf of the Department of Justice in the autism omnibus trial about what he stated was the unreliability of the O'Leary lab's results with regard to testing for contamination. Bustin describes his conclusions with regard to the lab's alleged detection of measles virus RNA as follows: "My clear conclusion then was that O'Leary's results were caused by defective experimental technique and inappropriate interpretation of results, since he was detecting DNA, and measles virus does not exist as DNA."[16][17] Bustin was described as "one of the most highly qualified and credible expert witnesses I [the Special Master] have ever encountered."[4] In addition to his testimony, Bustin published an analysis of Andrew Wakefield's 2002 study in the journal Molecular Pathology. This analysis, like Bustin's testimony, concluded that "The only conclusion possible is that the assays were detecting contaminating DNA. Since MeV is an RNA-only virus and never exists in DNA form, these data must be ignored and it is my opinion that the authors should withdraw this publication from the peer-reviewed literature."[18][19]


  1. ^ "Stephen Bustin". ResearchGate. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Stephen Bustin's Biography". Selectbiosciences. 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  3. ^ McGee, Patrick (10 May 2007). "How Reliable is Your qPCR Data?". Drug Discovery & Development. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Bustin, Stephen (2013). "Definitive qPCR". Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Perkel, Jeffrey M. (1 December 2013). "PCR: Past, Present, & Future". The Scientist. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Marx, Vivien (2013). "PCR: living life amplified and standardized". Nature. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  7. ^ Bustin, S. A.; Benes, V.; Garson, J. A.; Hellemans, J.; Huggett, J.; Kubista, M.; Mueller, R.; Nolan, T.; Pfaffl, M. W.; Shipley, G. L.; Vandesompele, J.; Wittwer, C. T. (2009). "The MIQE Guidelines: Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments". Clinical Chemistry 55 (4): 611–622. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2008.112797. PMID 19246619.  edit
  8. ^ "The MIQE Guidelines". Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Most Cited Articles". Clin. Chem. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Stephen Bustin". Anglia Ruskin University. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  12. ^ "The future of qPCR". American Association for the Advancement of Science. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Nolan, T.; Hands, R. E.; Bustin, S. A. (2006). "Quantification of mRNA using real-time RT-PCR". Nature Protocols 1 (3): 1559–1582. doi:10.1038/nprot.2006.236. PMID 17406449.  edit
  14. ^ Mueller, R.; Bustin, S. A. (2005). "Real-time reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) and its potential use in clinical diagnosis". Clinical Science 109 (4): 365–379. doi:10.1042/CS20050086. PMID 16171460.  edit
  15. ^ Bustin, S. (2000). "Absolute quantification of mRNA using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays". Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 25 (2): 169–193. doi:10.1677/jme.0.0250169. PMID 11013345.  edit
  16. ^ Bustin, Stephen (8 December 2008). "Fading Claims of MMR Link to Autism". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Fitzpatrick, Michael (4 July 2007). "‘The MMR-autism theory? There’s nothing in it’". Spiked Online. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Bustin, S. A. (2013). "Why There Is no Link Between Measles Virus and Autism". Recent Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorders - Volume I. doi:10.5772/52844. ISBN 978-953-51-1021-7.  edit
  19. ^ Feinstein, Adam (2010). A History of Autism: Conversations with the Pioneers. Blackwell Publishing. p. 227.