Environmental Sciences
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Jacqueline K. Barton

Professor
Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology
United States of America

Biography

She is the John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry and Norman Davidson Leadership Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She is a native New Yorker. She was awarded the A.B. at Barnard College in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Columbia University in 1978 in the laboratory of S. J. Lippard. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Bell Laboratories and Yale University with R. G. Shulman, she became an assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York. In 1983, she returned to Columbia University, becoming an associate professor of chemistry and biological sciences in 1985 and professor in 1986. In the fall of 1989, she joined the faculty at Caltech. From 1997 to 2016 she held the Arthur and Marion Hanisch Memorial Professorship. In 2009, she began her term as Chair of the Division. She has pioneered the application of transition metal complexes to probe recognition and reactions of double helical DNA. She has designed chiral metal complexes that recognize nucleic acid sites with specificities rivaling DNA-binding proteins. Barton has also carried out seminal studies to elucidate electron transfer chemistry mediated by the DNA double helix. She first showed that oxidative damage to DNA can arise from a distance through charge migration through the DNA duplex. She furthermore established that DNA charge transport chemistry is exquisitely sensitive to intervening perturbations in the DNA base stack, as with single base mismatches or lesions. She has focused on the role of DNA charge transport chemistry in DNA repair. Through this research, she has trained more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral students, with about half in academic positions.  

Research Interest

 DNA

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