Thirty years ago, in 1983, Kary B. Mullis conceived an experimental method for amplifying small quantities of DNA— the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—that would go on to revolutionize the study of genetics, forensics, and biological anthropology. Over three decades, PCR techniques, fueled by advances in enzymology and automation, have continually improved and evolved to meet the changing needs and demands of life-science researchers. Today, armed with an arsenal of potent reagents, reliable software, and robust instrumentation, PCR will be a vital part of new applications of next-generation sequencing, clinical diagnostics, and drug discovery.

The Scientist, in collaboration with Biosearch Technologies, has invited Kary Mullis to reflect back on these 30 years in terms of his initial discovery, how things stand today, and where he thinks PCR is headed in the future. For this live webinar, Dr. Mullis will be joined by expert panelists who will highlight current innovations taking...

Meet the Speakers:

KARY B. MULLIS received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1966, and he earned a PhD degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. Mullis joined the Cetus Corporation in Emeryville, California, as a DNA chemist in 1979. During his 7 years there, he conducted research on oligonucleotide synthesis and invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). He is currently chief scientific officer of Altermune Technologies, Ltd, working on a method for pharmaceutically redirecting a ubiquitous human immunity intended for a trisaccharide known as the alpha-Gal epitope to some other site to which the patient could benefit from an immediate immunity. For his invention of the polymerase chain reaction, Mullis received the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry and the 1993 Japan Prize.

STEPHEN BUSTIN obtained his PhD in molecular genetics from Trinity College, University of Dublin in 1983. He is currently Professor of Allied Health and Medicine at Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K., having previously been Professor of Molecular Science at Queen Mary, University of London. Bustin is also a visiting professor of molecular biology at the University of Middlesex. He has had a long-standing interest in the polymerase chain reaction and real-time PCR (qPCR). His book “A-Z of quantitative PCR” (2004) is referred to as the “qPCR bible”, he has edited two further books “The PCR Revolution” (2011) and “PCR Technology” (2013, with Tania Nolan) and has published the first e-books dedicated to qPCR (

REGINALD BEER received a PhD in engineering from the University of California, Davis, in 2007 for his research demonstrating the first real-time digital PCR in monodisperse droplets. He is the Medical Diagnostics Initiative leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he develops technologies for molecular diagnostics applications. Beer has numerous inventions supporting on-chip analyses including thermal cycling, droplet trapping, signal enhancement, and droplet digital PCR. His research in digital PCR, on-chip miniaturization, and selective microarray dehybridization focuses on improving existing diagnostics capabilities.


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