Frances H. Arnold

Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry; Director, Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center

Mail Code: MC 210-41
Office: 228B Spalding Laboratory
Phone: 626-395-4162
Email: frances@​
Administrative Assistant:
B.S., Princeton University, 1979; Ph.D., University of California, 1985; D.h.c., Stockholm University. Visiting Associate, Caltech, 1986; Assistant Professor, 1987-92; Associate Professor, 1992-96; Professor, 1996-99; Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, 1999-2000. Dickinson Professor, 2000-17; Pauling Professor, 2017-; Director, Rosen Bioengineering Center, 2013-.

We develop and apply new methods of protein engineering. Our lab pioneered ‘directed evolution’ approaches that are used throughout the world to make everything from medicines to foods, textiles, consumer products, chemicals, and fuels.  We are exploring hybrid computational/evolutionary methods in challenging applications.  We are especially interested in the evolution of new enzymes (to catalyze reactions with no known biological counterparts) and understanding the mechanisms by which these new functions arise.

Selected Awards

Honorary Doctorate, University of Chicago (2016); Millennium Technology Prize (2016); Honorary Doctor, ETH Zurich (2015); Elmer Gaden Award, Biotechnology & Bioengineering (2015); U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame (2014); Golden Plate Award, Academy of Achievement (2014); Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (2014); ENI Prize in Renewable and Nonconventional Energy (2013); E. Merck Lectures in Chemistry (2013); National Medal of Technology and Innovation (2011); Charles Stark Draper Prize (2011); American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (2009); Steenbock Lectures, U. Wisconsin (2008);National Academy of Sciences (2008); Linnaeus Lecturer, Uppsala University (2008);Cruickshank Lecturer, Gordon Research Conferences (2008);Enzyme Engineering Award (2007); FASEB Excellence in Science Award (2007); Lewis Lectures, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006); Walker Lectures, Pennsylvania State University (2006); Kelly Lectures, Purdue University (2006); Food, Pharmaceuticals, and Bioengineering Division Award, AIChE (2005); Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, ACS (2005); Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2004); Rosalind Franklin Lecturer, Cambridge University (2004); Carothers Award of the ACS Delaware Division (2003); David Perlman Lecture Award, ACS, Biochemical Technology (2003); Lindsay Distinguished Lecturer, Texas A&M, Chemical Engineering (2003); Merck-Frosst Lecturer, Biochemistry, University of Alberta (2003); Sir Robert Price Lecturer, CSIRO, Melbourne (2003); Fellow, AIMBE (2001); National Academy of Engineering (2000); Professional Progress Award of the AIChE (2000)

Selected Publications