Buenrostro received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Santa Clara University in 2009 and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2016. He was subsequently a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows at Harvard University as well as a Broad Institute Fellow from 2016 to 2018. Buenrostro is currently an associate professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard since 2018. He has published in a variety of leading journals, including Science, Nature, Cell, Nature Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among others.
“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I got as a student at Santa Clara,” said Buenrostro. “Thank you to all my mentors at SCU for supporting and promoting my projects. A special shoutout to the amazing student EMT organization that taught me about leadership.” Buenrostro, a Redwood City native is the first Bronco to receive the prestigious award.
Buenrostro has developed DNA sequencing methods to better understand how spatial context impacts cellular function. Keeping cells in their original locations within tissues allows investigation of how different cell types impact and are impacted by surrounding cells. Buenrostro and colleagues developed slide-DNA-seq, which identifies the spatial location of genetic mutations. In the context of cancerous tumors, slide-DNA-seq gives researchers a better understanding of the unique evolutionary pathways of cancer cells and of potential treatments. Through tool development and his own research, Buenrostro brings researchers closer to deciphering key genetic mechanisms of cell development and cellular function and to understand their impact on health.
“Jason cut his teeth in molecular biology and genomics as an undergraduate researcher in my plant evolution lab at SCU,” said Dr. Justen B. Whittall, the John Mooring Native Plant Research Endowment Awardee in the Department of Biology. “He co-authored two publications as an undergrad—one on Torrey pine genomics and another using qPCR in arctic mustards. Jason's intellect combined scientific foresight beyond his age and his perseverance was unparalleled. I am grateful to have worked with him at such an early stage in his amazing career.”
Each of the 2023 cohort of MacArthur Fellows will receive an $800,000 stipend, bestowed with no conditions, that awardees can use as they see fit. Awarded annually since 1981, the MacArthur Foundation typically awards 20 to 30 “genius grants” each year to those who have shown exceptional originality in and dedication to their creative pursuits. All individuals are nominated anonymously by leaders in their fields and considered by an anonymous selection committee.