June Monica Lindsey (née Broomhead, June 7, 1922 – November 4, 2021) was a British-Canadian biochemist. Whilst working on X-ray crystallography at the University of Cambridge, Lindsey was influential in the elucidation of the structure DNA. She solved the structures of the purines, adenine and guanine. Her depiction of intramolecular hydrogen bonds in adenine crystals was central to Watson and Crick's elucidation of the double helical structure of DNA.
|Born||June 7, 1922|
Doncaster, England, U.K.
|Died||November 4, 2021 (aged 99)|
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
|Known for||Structure of Adenine and Guanine|
|Institutions||University of Oxford |
National Research Council
|Thesis||An X-ray investigation of certain sulphonates and purines. (1950)|
Education and early careerEdit
Lindsey was born in Doncaster, England in June 1922. She joined the University of Cambridge in 1941. She completed her degree in 1944, but World War II forced her to leave her research career. She was encouraged to become a teacher, and spent two years teaching science in a school. She returned to Cambridge in 1946. She completed undergraduate courses at Newnham College, but Cambridge did not give women undergraduate degrees until 1948. She was awarded her doctorate in 1950. She solved the crystal structure of a complex of adenine and guanine. She delineated the shape and dimensions of the two nitrogenous subunits of DNA. She proposed that complementary nucleobases are bound together by hydrogen bonds, work that was expanded by Bill Cochran. Her research, particularly the prediction of hydrogen bonds, was used by Watson and Crick to determine the structure of DNA. They created cardboard models based on the dimensions from Lindsey's crystal structures. Francis Crick worked opposite Lindsey at the University of Cambridge. They did not recognise the contributions of Lindsey in their discovery of the molecular structure of nucleic acids.
After graduating, Lindsey moved to the University of Oxford, where she worked as a postdoctoral scholar with Dorothy Hodgkin on Vitamin B12. Lindsey moved to Canada in 1951. Before she left, Lawrence Bragg wrote to her requesting that she join him working on experimental and theoretical crystallography. In a letter, he wrote: “We badly need your hands to tackle knotty crystallographic problems, both experimental and theoretical. I wish all these things had come up while you were still with us; they would have been just in your line.”[dead link] She worked at the National Research Council on the structure of codeine and morphine. Her husband, George Lindsey, was stationed in Montreal.
Lindsey left her career in crystallography to look after her two children. They moved to Italy on a NATO mission in 1961. Lindsey collected her bachelor's degree in 1998, 50 years after completing it.
Alex MacKenzie, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, who knew Lindsey as a family friend, asked her about her career. She told him about her 1940s work on crystallography, which inspired him to research her scientific contributions. MacKenzie was amazed by what he found and did not want her work to go unnoticed; it is "something we should shout from the mountaintops".
- FreeBMD: Broomhead, June M.
- "Ottawa scientist played key role in the discovery of DNA double helix". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
- April 15, Elizabeth Payne Updated; 2019 (2019-04-08). "The Ottawa woman who 'blazed a trail for women long before gender equity in science became clarion call' | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved 2019-06-04.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "Meet the 96-year-old Ottawa woman who contributed to the discovery of DNA's double helix". CBC. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- "It's A Hit: X-Ray Crystallography | Chemical & Engineering News". cen.acs.org. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
- MacKenzie, Alex (2019). "The determination of purine crystal structures: an overlooked prequel to the discovery of the double helix". Genome. 62 (1): 43–44. doi:10.1139/gen-2018-0165. ISSN 0831-2796. PMID 30485127.
- Kass-Simon, Gabriele; Farnes, Patricia; Nash, Deborah (1993). Women of Science: Righting the Record. Indiana University Press. p. 379. ISBN 9780253208132.
June M. Lindsey.
- White, John G.; Robertson, John H.; Pickworth, Jenny; Lindsey, June; Hodgkin, Dorothy Crowfoot; Brink, Clara (1954). "Structure of Vitamin B 12 : X-ray Crystallographic Evidence on the Structure of Vitamin B 12". Nature. 174 (4443): 1169–71. doi:10.1038/1741169a0. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 13223773. S2CID 4207158.
- "Contacts with Dorothy Hodgkin - Biographical Sketch of Clara Shoemaker - David and Clara Shoemaker Papers - Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries". scarc.library.oregonstate.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- EAdmin (2019-05-31). "Meet the 96-year-old Ottawa woman who contributed to the discovery of DNA's double helix". Eastern Ontario Network. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
- "globeandmail.com: Nuclear physicist was DND's 'best mind'". v1.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
- "The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on June 19, 1998 · 25". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2019-06-02.
- Payne, Elizabeth (November 16, 2021). "Obituary: 'Unsung hero' of science laid the ground work for epoch DNA discovery". Ottawa Citizen.
- "June Lindsey". Ottawa Citizen. November 8, 2021. Retrieved 22 November 2021.