Frances H. Arnold
Frances H. Arnold (1956), a chemical engineer, is the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award in 2018 for her breakthrough approach to bioengineering, “directed evolution.” In 1993 Arnold began experiments with bacteria to produce a wide variety of enzymes, the biological molecules that aid chemical reactions. Chemical sorting then allowed her to isolate better-performing enzymes. Directed evolution is used to create an array of products, including pharmaceuticals and renewable fuels. Arnold is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine.