2012-11-14: WCC Dinner Meeting featuring Prof. Jackie Barton on DNA Signaling

Women Chemists Committee Dinner Meeting
Co-Sponsored by eSTEM grant, Thanks to Lynn M. Wright and Dr. David N. Douglas

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Creveling Lounge, Pasadena City College

1570 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106

DNA Signaling

Jacqueline K. Barton
Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry and
Chair, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,
California Institute of Technology,
Pasadena, CA 91125

6:15 p.m. Check-in
7:15 p.m. Dinner
8:15 Presentation

Abstract: We think of the DNA double helix as the library of the cell, encoding all that we are. But the DNA helix can also serve as a conduit for the flow of electrons, a medium for signaling. DNA can show reactivity from insulating to wire-like depending upon the stacking of the base pairs. Many experiments have now shown that double helical DNA can serve as a conduit for the transport of electrons over long molecular distances. Importantly, since DNA conductivity depends upon base pair stacking, we can utilize this chemistry in designing sensitive DNA-based diagnostic sensors. But do electrons and holes also migrate along the DNA helix within the cell? DNA charge transport chemistry may be used advantageously within the cell in long range signaling to DNA-bound proteins, both to activate responses to cellular stresses and to activate repair of bases damaged under conditions of oxidative stress. DNA charge transport provides an opportunity to carry out redox chemistry at a distance, and hence the DNA helix can serve as a conduit for signaling across the genome.

Biography: Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton is the Arthur and Marian Hanisch Memorial Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She is a native New Yorker. Barton was awarded the A.B. summa cum laude at Barnard College in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at Columbia University in 1978. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Bell Laboratories and Yale University, she became an assistant professor at Hunter College, City University of New York. She then returned to Columbia University, becoming an associate professor of chemistry and biological sciences in 1985 and professor in 1986. In the fall of 1989, she joined the faculty at Caltech, and in 2009 began her term as Chair of the Division.

Professor Barton has pioneered the application of transition metal complexes to probe recognition and reactions of double helical DNA. She designed chiral metal complexes that recognize nucleic acid sites with specificities rivaling DNA-binding proteins. In seminal studies, Barton has also elucidated a new property of DNA, how electrons migrate through the DNA double helix. This chemistry has been applied in the development of DNA-based sensors and may be critical to long range signaling within the cell.

Barton has received numerous awards including many ACS awards. She received the Tolman Medal in 1994. Barton has served the chemical community through her participation in ACS, government and industrial boards. She has a served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dow Chemical Company since 1993. Based upon her industrial board service, with a focus on furthering science and technology, she was named an Outstanding Director by ODX. Barton has also trained more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral associates, including many now in faculty positions across the globe. In October, 2011, Dr. Barton was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama.

Reservations: There will be a chicken dinner. The cost of the dinner is $26 per person including tax and tip; cash or check at the door. Please call Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at 310 327-1216 or email office@scalacs.org by Monday, November 12, 2012 for reservations.

Directions: A campus map and directions are available at http://www.pasadena.edu/maps/campus_map.cfm. Parking is $2. You can park in the Staff Parking Lot right next to the Creviling Center or across Hill Avenue in Student Parking Lot 10.