Jacqueline K. Barton

John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry; Norman Davidson Leadership Chair, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
A.B., Barnard College, 1974; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1978; D.Sc.h.c., New Jersey Institute; Kenyon College; Yale University; Hamilton College; Williams College; Lawrence University; Columbia University; D.L.h.c., Skidmore College. Visiting Associate, Caltech, 1989; Professor, 1989-; Hanisch Professor, 1997-. Chair, 2009-.

Assistant to the Chair: Amy Woodall-Ojeda
Research Assistant: Elisha Okawa

In the Barton group, we examine 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.

Our 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.
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