Frances H. Arnold

Frances H. Arnold

Nobel Prize winning American scientist and engineer known for pioneering directed evolution methods for the generation of useful proteins.

Frances H. Arnold became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018 “for the directed evolution of enzymes”. Dr. Arnold is a Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry and directs the Rosen Bioengineering Center at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She co-founded the biofuel company Gevo in 2005 and Provivi in 2013 to develop biocatalytic processes for agricultural and specialty chemicals.

Frances Arnold studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, where she graduated in 1979. She completed her doctorate in chemical engineering in 1985 at University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Arnold pioneered methods of “directed evolution” to create new proteins not found in nature, a process that involves inducing random mutations and screening the resulting enzymes for sought-after properties. The work of Arnold and her team has led to the production of enzymes that function in airless environments so that biofuels can be produced without expensive air-circulating equipment. Some the proteins developed by her team are reducing the reliance of industry on toxic chemicals in manufacturing. Arnold’s techniques have played a part in Merck’s development of the diabetes drug Januvia. Her work on developing proteins that bind to neurotransmitters and be detectable by MRI are being used for research in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Timeline

2018

Frances H. Arnold received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Arnold was one of three awardees. She was the sole awardee "for the directed evolution of enzymes," and received half the prize share. George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter split the remaining half of the prize for their work on phage display of peptides and antibodies.

1985

Frances H. Arnold received her Ph.D. degree from University of California, Berkeley

Arnold received her doctorate in chemical engineering. Her thesis work was conducted in the lab of Harvey Warren Blanch and investigated affinity chromatography techniques.

1979

Frances H. Arnold graduated from Princeton University

She received B.S. degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering with a focus on solar energy generation.

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News

Title
Author
Date
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Michael Greshko
October 3, 2018
www.nationalgeographic.com
We dove into 115 years' worth of past laureates, and the data revealed some striking trends.
Natalie Angier
May 28, 2019
www.nytimes.com
Instead of synthesizing new biochemicals from scratch, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist puts nature to the task -- with astonishing results.

References

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