Los Angeles Times

Obama recognizes Caltech professor Frances Arnold

Caltech professor Frances Arnold was recognized Friday as a winner of a top technology award given by President Obama.

Arnold, whose work focuses on "directed evolution" and green fuel, was one of 11 recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. A ceremony will take place at the White House in early 2013.

She said she was "thrilled" when she found out the news. "This is a huge honor."

The 56-year-old La Cañada Flintridge resident said she works with a research group at Caltech to use biology to help solve human problems. "I direct the evolution of DNA sequences to encode useful, new properties, particularly enzyme catalysts that can be used to make chemicals and fuel."

Natural materials such as petroleum will eventually run out, she said, and creating renewable fuel is important.

“It’s a very exciting time now for this kind of work," she said. "The possibilities are exploding.”

In 2008, Arnold was elected to serve on the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Last year, she was the first woman to win the prestigious Draper Prize — the Nobel Prize of the science world.

-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News

Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ or on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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