09/15/1995 07:00:00

Caltech Chemist to Speak at Rockefeller University

PASADENA—Jacqueline Barton, professor of chemistry at Caltech, will discuss her research on "Chiral Metal Complexes and DNA: Recognition and Reaction," at 9:55 a.m. on Friday, September 15, at Rockefeller University in New York City.

Her talk will be part of a meeting at Rockefeller University. Running from September 12–15, the meeting will focus on "Stereospecificity and Molecular Recognition" and is one of six meetings being held in 1995 as part of The Year of Louis Pasteur International Symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of Pasteur's death.

Barton's research focuses on the design of transition metal complexes that target and probe specific sites along strands of DNA and RNA. She uses chiral coordination complexes, matching their shapes, symmetries, and functionalities to sites along the DNA or RNA strand, and has developed complexes that recognize nucleic-acid sites with high specificity.

These synthetic transition metal complexes have been useful in exploring principles in molecular recognition, as mimics for gene regulatory proteins, and as photophysical and photochemical probes of nucleic acids. Barton's presentation at Rockefeller University will concentrate on this last field, in which her chiral metal complexes have been applied to probe DNA-mediated electron transfer chemistry. In collaboration with Nick Turro of Columbia University, she has utilized luminescent metal probes to explore how the DNA double helix could function as a molecular "wire."

A native New Yorker, Barton earned her BA, summa cum laude, at Barnard College in 1974 and her PhD in inorganic chemistry at Columbia University in 1978. After several years on the faculty at Columbia, she joined the Caltech faculty in 1989. She has received numerous awards, including the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award in 1985, the Pure Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society in 1988, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991.