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Environment

Barton Is Named Cotton Medalist

October 23, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 43

Jacqueline K. Barton, Arthur & Marian Hanish Memorial Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, has been awarded the 2007 F. A. Cotton Medal in recognition of her many contributions to molecular biology, especially her intercalation techniques for the study of DNA.

Barton pioneered the application of transition-metal complexes to probe recognition and reactions of double helical DNA. With these transition-metal probes, she has targeted nucleic acid sites with affinities and specificities rivaling those of DNA-binding proteins, developed luminescent and photochemical reagents as diagnostic tools, and elucidated electron-transfer chemistry mediated by the DNA double helix. Her work may be critical to understanding the chemical consequences of radical damage to DNA within the cell.

Barton will receive the Cotton Medal at a symposium and dinner at Texas A&M University on April 26, 2007. The award consists of a gold medal and a bronze replica as well as a certificate and a cash honorarium. It is named for F. Albert Cotton, W. T. Doherty-Welch Foundation Chair and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University. The award has been given annually since 1995 by the Texas A&M department of chemistry and the ACS Texas A&M Section.

Separately, Barton has been named an Outstanding Director for 2006 by the Outstanding Directors Exchange (ODX). This annual awards program honors independent directors of public companies who have been recognized by their peers for making a courageous or valuable contribution to the companies on whose boards they serve. Barton, a director of Dow Chemical, is among eight directors who received the award this year.

Barton is being recognized for helping to create the post of chief technology officer at Dow. Previously, Dow had a group vice president for R&D, but Barton successfully argued that the company needed someone who was less an administrator and more a practitioner of science.

Barton has also assumed the role of translator for fellow board members, identifying for the board how new Dow technologies may work, what they can do, and whether there could be other implications, such as possible environmental or health impacts.

"Jackie is one of those directors who advance the board and who, in doing so, help to advance corporate governance for us all," says Michael D. Griffin, chairman of ODX.

Barton will receive the Outstanding Director award at the ODX corporate governance conference in San Francisco on March 21-22, 2007.

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