Arnold, Frances Hamilton

Arnold, Frances Hamilton, 1956–, American chemical engineer, b. Edgewood, Pa., Ph.D. Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1985. Arnold has been a professor at the California Institute of Technology since 1986. She is noted for her work on the directed evolution of enzymes. Mutations are introduced into a bacterial gene that produces an enzyme, the enzymes the mutated genes produce are evaluated for improvements in their catalytic activity, and additional mutations are then introduced into the mutated gene that produces more effective enzymes in order to further improve the enzyme's activity. In 2018 she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work; George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter shared the other half of the prize. Arnold's research group has used directed enzyme evolution to develop new enzymes that can catalyze chemical reactions and produce molecules that enzymes have not previously been capable of catalyzing or producing, allowing enzymes to replacing toxic catalysts in industrial applications.

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