Jacqueline Barton Wins National Academy of Sciences Prize

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The award honors "innovative research in the chemical sciences that contributes to a better understanding of the natural sciences and to the benefit of humanity".

Professor Jacqueline K. Barton

January 25, 2019

Jacqueline K. Barton, the John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry and Norman Davidson Leadership Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, has been awarded the 2019 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award in Chemical Sciences.

The Barton research group examines the chemical and physical properties of DNA and the biological implications of those properties. Our research has shown that DNA is more than just the library of the cell, existing only to hold genetic information; on the contrary, DNA is a molecule rich in complexity and full of surprises.

Previously, the Barton group has shown that the overlapping π system of stacked DNA bases can mediate the transfer of electrical charge (electrons and holes) over long distances. This DNA-mediated charge transfer (DNA CT) occurs in a variety of sequence contexts and between various types of charge donors and acceptors, shows a shallow distance dependence, and is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations to the base stack such as chemical damage and base pair mismatches.

Their current research is focused in three areas:

  • Using the unique binding environment of DNA to develop specific probes for DNA mismatches and lesions
  • Examining the biological implications of DNA CT
  • Designing electrochemical devices which can be used to sense DNA damage or report on DNA and protein binding events.

Learn more about the NAS Award in Chemical Sciences here.

Congratulations, Dr. Barton!