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Travels Along the DNA Helix

Have you heard of transitional metal complexes? (Neither had I.) In layman's terms, they are common metals, such as iron and cobalt, which in their ionic state often attach to other atoms and groups, forming transitional metal complexes. It turns out that these complexes are enormous in variety and can be used as probes to explore DNA and RNA structure. This offers us new information about genes and possibly cancer and is of central focus to Dr. Jacqueline Barton.

Dr. Barton is a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. She 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. Thereafter, as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow, she studied biophysics at Bell Laboratories and Yale University in the laboratory of R.G. Shulman. Dr. Barton then became an assistant professor of chemistry 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 a full professor in 1986. In the fall of 1989, she assumed her present position at Caltech.

Because of Dr. Barton's outstanding scholarly endeavors, she has received many awards. This year she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and received the Baekeland Medal of the ACS North Jersey Section. She has also been named the 1992 recipient of the American Chemical Society's Garvan Medal. The Joint Science Department has selected Dr. Barton as a participant in the Athenaeum's Academic Leaders series.

Dr. Barton's speech is titled "Travels Along the DNA Helix." Please sign up for the dinner at 6:00 or, if you're too busy, come to the speech at 7:00.