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Celebrating 2018 Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold

Pioneering work transformed multiple industries

Frances H. Arnold

Frances H. Arnold
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December 10, 2018

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Frances Arnold, who received her first NSF grant in 1988, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering work to selectively engineer enzymes, proteins that jumpstart chemical reactions. She created directed evolution, a method in which rounds of mutation and selection are used to improve the efficiency of enzymes towards a desired function. Enzymes developed by directed evolution are now used to make biofuels, pharmaceuticals, detergents and pesticide alternatives. Technologies spun out of Arnold's lab power Codexis, a leading protein engineering firm, Gevo, a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, and NSF-funded Provivi Inc., a startup focused on non-pesticide solutions to control insects in agriculture. Arnold directs the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center at Caltech.

NSF Directorate(s):
Directorate for Engineering
Directorate for Biological Sciences
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering


Related Awards
#8807351 Engineering Protein Separations on Immobilized Metals
#8957118 Presidential Young Investigators Award
#9108502 Selective Polymers For Protein Separations: Investigation of Novel Template Polymerization Techniques
#9416915 Selective Templated Polymers for Bioseparations
#9901495 A Microfabricated Cell Sorter for Molecular Evolution
#9981770 Tools for Directed Evolution of Oxygenases: High Throughput Screening of Epoxidation and Hydroxylation Catalysts
#1403077 SusChEM: Engineering and Evolution of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes for Non-Natural Chemistry
#1513007 Expanding the Enzyme Repertoire by Evolution and Engineering
#1738308 STTR Phase II: Enzymatic Synthesis of Chiral Cyclopropanes for Pharmaceutical Drug Synthesis and Agricultural Crop Protection Applications

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