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NESACS Meeting – Richards Medal Award – Mar 2022

March 10, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Jacqueline K Barton

Monthly Meeting


The 1,011th Meeting of the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society 

2021 Richards Award Medal Meeting 

Thursday, March 10, 2022, at Harvard University – Loeb House

17 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Link to Register:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-richards-award-medal-meeting-honoring-jacqueline-k-barton-tickets-273479694127

Deadline for in-person meeting registration is March 1st!

A link to watch via Zoom remotely will be provided

Jacqueline K Barton

Board Meeting 4:30-5:30

Reception    5:30-6:00

Dinner and Richards Medal Award Ceremony    6:00

  • Carolyn Mulrooney, NESACS Chair, Presiding
  • Reflections on Theodore William Richards
  • Introduction of the 46th Richards Medalist
  • 2021 Richards Medalist
    • Jacqueline K. Barton, the John G. Kirkwood and Arthur A. Noyes Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute. For more information: https://www.its.caltech.edu/~jkbgrp/
    • Title of Address: Signaling through DNA


Dr. Barton will be the 46th recipient of the biennial award, which was established in 1928.  The award and its accompanying medal honors the first U.S. winner of the chemistry Nobel Prize in Chemistry; other recipients of this prestigious honor include 11 Nobel Laureates and other scientific luminaries.


Abstract:  My laboratory has focused for many years on understanding electron transfer chemistry through DNA. Double helical DNA provides a medium for efficient redox chemistry over very long molecular distances. But we have learned that this redox chemistry depends sensitively upon DNA base pair stacking; any perturbation in DNA stacking, such as occurs with base mismatches, lesions, and protein binding, turns off the efficient electron transfer chemistry through the base pair stack. Thus this DNA charge transport chemistry depends sensitively upon the integrity of the DNA duplex. We have also been exploring how this chemistry may be used within the cell. Increasingly, iron-sulfur clusters are being found in DNA-binding proteins involved in genome maintenance. These metal clusters, common redox cofactors, are associated not only with DNA repair proteins but also proteins involved in DNA replication, including our DNA polymerases. We will describe studies to characterize DNA-mediated charge transport chemistry by these metalloproteins. Experiments indicate that this chemistry may provide a first step in how DNA repair proteins find their target lesions. Moreover, this chemistry offers a means to facilitate the hand-off between replication proteins, providing a redox switch to control DNA binding. This redox chemistry at a distance, mediated by the DNA helix, thus offers a route for long range signaling and coordination of DNA-processing proteins across the genome.


Bio: Among Dr. Barton’s outstanding achievements is her pioneering application of transition metal complexes to probe the recognition and reactions of double helical DNA.  Significantly, through the use of her metal complexes, she has carried out studies that elucidate electron transfer chemistry that involves the DNA double helix, and have shown that this chemistry is a powerful means for long range DNA-mediated signaling.  The work has provided a basis for the development of sensitive nucleic acid sensors, as well as for understanding the chemistry underlying DNA damage, repair, and replication.  Dr. Barton has been a dedicated mentor, and has trained more than 100 postdoctoral associates and students.  Many women and men from her laboratory have moved into prominent positions in academia and industry.  As a result of this research, she has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Alan T. Waterman Award from NSF, the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.  She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine.  In 2011, Dr. Barton received the 2010 National Medal of Science from President Obama, and, in 2015, received the ACS Priestley Medal.




Please visit www.nesacs.org/awards_richards-medal.html for more information on the selection process, the history of the Award and the career of Theodore William Richards, as well as additional information about Professor Jacqueline Barton. Professor Barton’s biography can also be found on the NESACS site.

NESACS would like to thank the Theodore William Richards Medal Committee of NESACS, especially  Professor Mary Jane Shultz (Tufts University, Chair of the Award Committee) and Ms. Anna Singer for her assistance with arrangements and invitations to this event.

Questions? Please contact: Ms. Anna Singer during standard business hours, secretary@nesacs.org.


Registration is required and a ticket for will be necessary for admission to the networking reception, and the board meeting. MBTA closest stop is Harvard Square, with many bus lines (1, 68, 83) providing access via Mass Ave. or Broadway. Please visit www.mbta.com.

Garage parking is located on Felton Street (1.5 block NE of 20 Quincy) as well as the Holyoke Street garage, between Holyoke and Dunster streets (5 blocks West of 20 Quincy). There is street parking around Harvard Square, but the 2 hour time limit might not be enough for the dinner or the meeting.

Photos from the Event:


Harvard University – Loeb House
17 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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Harvard University – Loeb House
17 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
+ Google Map