Jacqueline K. Barton, Caltech's John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry, Emerita, has received the 2023 Welch Award in Chemistry. The award is meant to "encourage and recognize basic chemical research for the benefit of mankind," according to the Robert A. Welch Foundation, which presents the award. Along with the award, Barton will also receive $500,000 and a gold medallion.
In her career of over four decades, Barton's research has focused in particular on the chemistry of DNA, using specialized transition metal complexes to probe its reactions. She was the first to discover that DNA molecules can carry electrons through the DNA base pair stack, similar to how a wire conducts electricity. That property is used by cells to detect and repair DNA damage.
About the Welch Award, Barton says, "The Welch award is a tremendous honor, and it is really the result of the great work of my dedicated co-workers."
Other awards Barton has received include the 2019 NAS Award in the Chemical Sciences, the 2015 Priestley Medal from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the ACS's Award in Pure Chemistry, a MacArthur Fellowship, the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award, and the National Medal of Science.
She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. She joined the Caltech faculty in 1989.
For more information about the Welch Award, visit https://welch1.org/news-reports/news/the-welch-foundation-announces-2023-welch-award-recipient