Professor Stephen Bustin

Professor of Molecular Medicine

Medical Technology Research Centre

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Molecular techniques
Research Supervision:

Professor Stephen Bustin is a world-renowned expert on quantitative PCR, and his research focuses on translating molecular techniques into practical, robust and reliable tools for clinical and diagnostic use. He is the Lead of the Molecular Diagnostics Unit, part of ARU's Medical Technology Research Centre (MTRC).

[email protected]
Follow Stephen on Twitter


Stephen obtained his PhD in Molecular Genetics from Trinity College, University of Dublin. His research interests include developing novel approaches for the early diagnosis of fungal and bacterial pathogens as well as applying molecular techniques to cxancer patient management. 

Stephen has authored numerous papers, review articles and book chapters aimed at improving the reproducibility and robustness of real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), including three books: A-Z of quantitative PCR (2004), The PCR Revolution (2011) and PCR Technology (2013). 

Previously, Stephen acted as an expert witness advising the UK High Court on qPCR technology in the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine - Autism class action, as well as at the MMR trial in Washington, DC, in 2007. He led an international consortium developing the MIQE guidelines for the use and reporting of qPCR (2009) and digital PCR (2013).

Research interests
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Cancer biology
  • Nucleic acid quantification
  • Proximity ligation assay

Professor Bustin’s main area of interest centres on devising novel, and cost-effective assays for the early detection of infectious diseases, with a particular focus on the identification of fungal pathogens and the creation of tests that anticipate emerging threats from new bacterial antibiotic resistance markers, eg MDR-1. 

A second area of interest has been the identification of predictive biomarkers for improved selection of colorectal cancer patients for anti-cancer treatment as well as development of molecular assays for intraoperative assessment of lymph nodes in breast cancer patients. A third priority addressed concerns about the reliability of biomedical research results.

Areas of research supervision
  • Study of molecular biomarkers to predict response to XELOX and Avastin  therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer
  • Development and optimisation of aptamers for inclusion in diagnostic kits targeting infectious agents 
  • BA (Mod), Trinity College Dublin
  • PhD, Trinity College Dublin
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member of the Academy of Europe
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Biomolecular Detection and Quantification (Elsevier)
  • Editor-in Chief (Gene Expression), International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • Member of the editorial boards of Gene Regulation and Systems Biology and Biomarkers in Medicine
Selected recent publications

Please refer to NCBI for a full list of publications