"What many people don't realize is how dynamic the structure of DNA is. The base pairs are always moving and vibrating, electrons are migrating, holes are opening up and closing through the center of the DNA."
Jacqueline Barton (1953– )
Barnard 1973, GSAS 1979
Honorary Ph.D. 1992
By exploring connections between the chemical structures of metals and DNA, Jacqueline Barton has created endless possibilities for the recognition and treatment of illness. Trained as an inorganic chemist, Barton focuses on using transition metal complexes (which are transition metal ions bonded to synthetic or natural molecules) to explore the electrical properties of DNA. She has, for example, developed metal probes that can track how electrons move through DNA strands. By discovering how DNA can be damaged and how that damage can be reversed, Barton has been able to shed light on illnesses—like cancer— that begin with damaged DNA.