The Inaugural UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Distinguished Lecture Series

Wed, Nov 6 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Mathematics 4000
Speaker Professor Frances H. Arnold
Hosted by
UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Professor Miguel Garcia-Garibay

We are delighted to invite you to join us for the inaugural UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Distinguished Lecture Series, which will be a department-wide colloquium in a special week with no other seminars!  The lecture will target students, faculty, friends, and alumni whose interests range from systems biology and complex molecule synthesis to nanomaterials and chemical theory.  The lecture will be followed by a reception.

The Fall Quarter lecture will be presented by Professor Frances H. Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry at California Institute of Technology.

    Frances H. Arnold            President Barack Obama awarding the National
                                           Medal of Technology and Innovation to Professor Arnold


New Enzymes by Evolution:
Expanding Nature’s Catalytic Repertoire

Frances H. Arnold
Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology
Enzymes have earned the admiration of chemists for their ability to selectivity catalyze myriad transformations. Not satisfied with nature’s vast catalytic repertoire, however, we are constantly searching for new ones to add to the toolkit of genetically encoded chemistry. My group uses the one proven algorithm for biological design—evolution—to optimize existing catalysts and create whole new ones.  A powerful approach to engineering useful biological molecules, directed evolution both circumvents and underscores our profound ignorance of how sequence encodes catalytic function. I will describe various ways we have used evolution (contaminated with a little chemical intuition) to generate new catalysts starting from one of nature’s most impressive, the remarkable cytochrome P450 monooxygenase.  I will share several examples of engineered versions that catalyze important synthetic reactions not known in nature.


Research by Professor Arnold and her group focuses on evolutionary protein design methods (1,2) and using the results of laboratory evolution experiments to elucidate principles of biological design.  The group generates novel and useful enzymes and organisms for applications in medicine, neurobiology, chemical synthesis and alternative energy.  They also construct entire synthetic families of enzymes and other proteins in order to study structure-function relationships free from constraints of natural selection.  This research requires contributions from many disciplines, including chemistry, bioengineering, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, chemical engineering, chemistry and applied physics.

Selected Awards and Honors (since 2000) for Professor Arnold include:
National Medal of Technology and Innnovation (2013); 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).

For any questions, please contact the Jin Lee (Promotion Program Manager) at or via phone at 310-825-4405.