Ernesto Bustamante bigraphy, stories - Peruvian molecular biologist

Ernesto Bustamante : biography

19 May 1950 -

Ernesto Bustamante (born May 19, 1950 in Lima, Peru) is a prominent scientist known for his expertise and contributions to the field of molecular biology.


Bustamante holds a B.S. in biology from the Universidad Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, an M.S. in biochemistry from the Universidad Cayetano Heredia in Lima, and a PhD in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States.

He has contributed to science in both the academic and the corporate worlds.

Public activities

Bustamante regularly publishes articles on political analysis in Peruvian newspapers and magazines; he is a political analyst and Op-Ed columnist for the leading Peruvian newspaper El Comercio. As to his political contributions, during the legislative period 2000–2001 he served as ad honorem consultant on the Comisión de Reforma de Códigos of the Congress of Peru and a member of the Study Group in charge of the Legislative Bill 00203, which proposed norms to protect the human genetic patrimony and to prevent and criminalize discrimination on the basis of genetic factors. This became Law 27636 that modified Art. 324 of the Peruvian Penal Code. During the legislative period 2001–2002, he served as ad honorem consultant on the SubComisión de Ciencia y Tecnología of the Congress of Peru. This became Law 28303, or Law of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation.

In 2001, Bustamante was named as national expert on the National Biosafety Group of Consejo Nacional del Ambiente, CONAM (National Environmental Council). In 2005 he was designated president of a transitory committee in charge of writing a new Bill to regulate the work of biologists to be presented to the Congress of Peru. The resulting proposal was passed by Congress in 2006 and is now Law 28847. Between 2001 and 2005 he administered the Internet science interest group Biologia run by the Red Científica Peruana consisting of over 450 members. He is a consultant to the Internet sexuality group Sexalud, run by Terra Lycos for Spain and Latin America.

In 2008, Bustamante was elected member of the board of directors of the Consejo Nacional del Ambiente, CONAM -the top national environmental authority that also rules on biodiversity and biosafety issues now replaced by the Ministry of the Environment. In August 2011, he was designated by president Humala's administration as General Director of Mining Environmental Affairs at the . He served until November 2011, when the first Humala Cabinet -headed by Prime Minister Salomon Lerner- fell due to the political consequences of social and environmental conflicts between mining companies and the neighboring populations that took place in the provinces of Tacna and Cajamarca. His office was responsible for approval of Environmental Impact Assessments presented by mining companies. He reformulated a project -and thus obtained budgetary approval for USD 29 million from the Ministry of Economy- for remediation of rivers and their basins heavily polluted by past mining endeavors in the province of Puno

He is considered an opinion leader in the matter of potential impact of GMOs on biodiversity in Peru and their safety, and is an advocate of the benefits of modern biotechnology on the economy.

Bustamante is currently the scientific director of BioGenomica , a company specializing in DNA paternity and parentage testing serving the Peruvian and international markets, and the exclusive representative in Peru for Myriad Genetics . He also serves as international consultant on medical, agricultural, and mining biotech matters.


In academia, he has served as professor of biochemistry at Universidad Cayetano Heredia (Lima, Peru) during eight years (1977–1984). He also was visiting professor, research fellow, visiting researcher, or research scholar at the following institutions: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) [1979, 1980, 1981, 1984], Universidad de Chile Facultad de Ciencias (Santiago, Chile) [1980, 1981], and recently at the School of Medicine of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA) [2002–2005].

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine