Jacqueline Barton

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Jacqueline K. Barton
Born (1952-05-07) May 7, 1952 (age 62)
New York City
Nationality USA
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Bell Labs
Hunter College
Alma mater Barnard College
Notable awards NSF Waterman Award (1985)
ACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1988)
MacArthur Foundation fellow (1991)
Garvan–Olin Medal (1992)
Weizmann Women & Science Award (1998)
ACS Gibbs Medal (2006)
Linus Pauling Award (2007)
National Medal of Science (2011)
Priestley Medal (2015)

Jacqueline K. Barton (born May 7, 1952) New York City, NY, is an American chemist. Barton is the Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at California Institute of Technology. The primary focus of her research is transverse electron transport along double-stranded DNA, its implications in the biology of DNA damage and repair, and its potential for materials sciences applications. She is married to fellow chemist and professor at Caltech, Peter Dervan. They have one daughter, Elizabeth.


Barton received her B.A. from Barnard College under the title summa cum laude in 1974. She went on to graduate study at Columbia University, where she studied inorganic chemistry under the supervision of S.J. Lippard earning her PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, Columbia University (1978). She was appointed as a Professor of Chemistry, Hunter College (1980-82), Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University (1983-89) and Professor of Chemistry at CalTech, California Institute of Technology (1989-to the present).


After earning her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1979, Barton held post-doctoral appointments at Bell Labs and Yale University, where she worked with R.G. Shulman. She earned tenure at Columbia University in the 1980s. During that time her main focus was the use of organo-ruthenium complexes to probe the physical conformations of DNA. Barton eventually moved to Caltech, where her research has focused on charge transport in DNA. She was named chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of California Institute of Technology, effective July 1, 2009.[1] She is a Member of the Board of Dow Chemical (1993-), Bell Laboratories, and Gilead Sciences Scientific Advisory Board.


Barton introduced the application of transition metal complexes to probe recognition and reactions of double helical DNA. She has designed chiral metal complexes which mimic the properties of DNA-binding proteins, allowing other researchers the capability to simulate and analyze experiments in this nature. Barton additionally established that DNA charge transport chemistry is extremely sensitive to intervening perturbations in the DNA base stack, as with single base mismatches or lesions. This discovery has been a cornerstone for the development of DNA-based electrochemical sensors. Barton has educated and trained more than 100 graduate students

Awards and honors[edit]

Barton (third right) receiving the National Medal of Science at the White House in 2011


External links[edit]