The 2006 Gibbs Award Dinner
Presented by the Chicago Section
of the American Chemical Society
Gibbs Medal Awardee:
Prof. Jacqueline K. Barton
Professor Jacqueline K. Barton
The Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology

“DNA Charge Transport Chemistry and Biology”

Date:  Friday, May 12, 2005
Location:    Chateau Rand
900 East Rand Road
Des Plaines, IL

6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Dinner, 8:30 pm Presentation

Introducing Professor Barton:  Peter B. Dervan, the Bren Professor of Chemistry, Caltech

Presentation of the medal:  Catherine T. Hunt, President-Elect, American Chemical Society

Cost:  $40.00 for members of ACS and their guests, $42.00 for non-members,
     $20 for students or unemployed

Registrations closed for this event.

The History of the Willard Gibbs Award

The Citation:

For seminal work in the study of the structure and dynamics of DNA.   This work is fundamental to our understanding of the molecular chemistry of DNA and its relevance to the development of diseases and inherited abnormalities.

Acceptance Address: 
“DNA Charge Transport Chemistry and Biology”


Charge migration through the DNA base stack results in oxidative damage 200 Å from the site of the remotely bound oxidant, but this reaction from a distance is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations in the intervening base stack.  Photophysical, electrochemical and biochemical experiments have been conducted to characterize this chemistry and to explore the consequences of long range oxidative DNA damage, the applications with respect to DNA sensing, and the opportunities for long range signaling within the cell.

Biographical Sketch of Professor Jacqueline K. Barton:   

Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton is the Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.  She is a native New Yorker. Barton was awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude at Barnard College in 1974 and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Columbia University in 1979 in the laboratory of S. J. Lippard.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at Bell Laboratories and Yale University in the laboratory of R. G. Shulman, she became an assistant professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry 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.

Professor Barton has pioneered the application of transition metal complexes as tools to probe recognition and reactions of double helical DNA.  Using chiral coordination complexes, matching their shapes, symmetries, and functionalities to sites along the strand, she has designed octahedral metal complexes which recognize nucleic acid sites with affinities and specificities rivaling DNA-binding proteins.  These synthetic transition metal complexes have been useful in elucidating fundamental chemical principles which govern the recognition of nucleic acids, in developing luminescent and photochemical reagents as new diagnostic tools, and in laying a foundation for the design of novel chemotherapeutics and biosensors.  With these transition metal probes, she has also carried out seminal studies to elucidate electron transfer chemistry mediated by the DNA double helix.  This work provides a completely new approach to the study of DNA structure and dynamics and may be critical to understanding DNA damage and repair within the cell.

Barton has received numerous awards.  These include the Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation (1985), and the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Pure Chemistry (1988).  She has also received the ACS Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (1987), the ACS Baekeland Medal (1991), the Fresenius Award (1986), the ACS Garvan Medal (1992), the ACS Tolman Medal (1994), the Mayor of New York's Award in Science and Technology (1988), the Havinga Medal (1995), the Paul Karrer Medal (1996), the ACS Nichols Medal (1997), the Weizmann Women and Science Award (1998), the ACS Ronald Breslow Award in Biomimetic Chemistry (2003) and the Joseph Priestley Award of Dickinson College and the ACS (2004).  She was a fellow of the Sloan Foundation, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, and an NSF Presidential Young Investigator.  She is a recipient of a prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1991) and she has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), the American Philosophical Society (2000), and the National Academy of Sciences (2002).  She has received honorary doctorates of science from Knox College (1991), Williams College (1992), New Jersey Institute of Technology (1993), Kenyon College (1994), Lawrence University (1994), Skidmore College (1997), and Hamilton College and Yale University (2005), as well as university medals from Barnard College (1990) and Columbia University (1992).  She has, in addition, served the chemical community through her participation in a wide range of governmental and industrial boards and advisory committees.

Directions and Map to Chateau Rand


Updated 5/11/06