Caltech chemical engineer Frances Arnold wins Nobel Prize

Article by Adam Duckett

Recognises pioneering work that mimics evolution to engineer enzymes

Arnold: “Evolution is the most powerful engineering method in the world”

CHEMICAL engineer Frances Arnold has been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her pioneering work that mimics evolution to engineer enzymes.

Arnold is professor of chemical engineering, bioengineering and biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), US. In 1993, she conducted the first so-called ‘directed evolution’ of enzymes. This involves mimicking natural selection to create new proteins that work as biological catalysts. Arnold has since refined the methods which are now routinely used in academia and industry. They have enabled cleaner and cheaper industrial processes for the manufacture of a wide range of products including drugs, detergents and fuels made from biomass.

This article is adapted from an earlier online version.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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