65th Birthday: Frances H. Arnold

65th Birthday: Frances H. Arnold

Author: ChemistryViews.org (Photo: Beavercheme2, wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Professor Frances Hamilton Arnold, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, USA, celebrates her 65th birthday on July 25, 2021. Arnold’s research focuses on engineering enzymes to catalyze reactions not known in biology. She uses directed evolution to generate new enzymes to solve problems for applications in, e.g., medicine and alternative energy. These methods, which rely on evolution instead of “rational” human design, are now routinely used to develop new catalysts. In 2018, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was divided, with one half being awarded to Frances H. Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes”.

Frances H. Arnold, born in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, in 1956, studied mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, USA. After receiving her B.Sc. in 1979, she worked in Brazil and at the Solar Energy Research Institute in Colorado, USA. She received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, in 1985. After postdoctoral research in biophysical chemistry at UC Berkeley, she joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, USA. Currently, she is the Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at Caltech.

Among many other awards, she has received the 2011 Draper Prize, the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2011, the Emanuel Merck Lectureship 2013, and the Millennium Technology Prize in 2016. She is a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the U.S.National Academy of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Selected Publications

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