Jacqueline K. Barton, Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor and chair of the division of chemistry and chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology, will receive the Priestley Medal, the American Chemical Society’s highest honor, in 2015.
Barton, 62, is receiving the award for her work on electron transport in DNA, her dedication to training young investigators, and her unwavering support for the chemistry enterprise, ACS announced.
“This is really an extraordinary honor for me,” Barton says. “It is also very special to be able to highlight and honor my students and coworkers. It has been a privilege for me to work with them. They are the ones who have had the courage to ask tough questions and carry out hard experiments to unravel new things about the chemistry of DNA.”
Madeleine Jacobs, ACS’s executive director and chief executive officer, noted Barton’s role not only as a scientist but as an inspirational model for women in chemistry. “Jackie Barton is an outstanding choice to be the 2015 Priestley Medalist,” Jacobs says. “She combines path-breaking research with service to the chemical profession in many arenas. She has also been a superb role model, not just for young women but for all young scientists, in her ability to balance her professional and personal life.”
Barton completed her Ph.D. in 1978 with Stephen J. Lippard at Columbia University. After a postdoctoral position at Bell Laboratories, she returned to Columbia, rising through the ranks to become full professor in 1986. In 1989, Barton moved to Caltech, where she has been for the past 25 years.
She has numerous awards under her belt, including the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the NSF Waterman Award.
Barton has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society. She has also served on the board of directors at Dow Chemical Co. since 1993.
During her tenure at Caltech, Barton’s research group has been focused on studies of the recognition and reactions of DNA, designing metal complexes as probes of DNA and exploring how DNA is damaged and repaired using DNA charge-transport chemistry.