Frances Arnold, first time winner of the Millennium Technology Award

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

Ed. Frances Arnold. Caltech

The Nobel Prize in Technology is also known as the Nobel Prize in Technology. It is broadcast every two years for inventing “technological innovations that improve people’s lives sustainably.” This year it has been awarded to Frances Arnold, the first woman to receive the Millennium Technology Award.

Arnold is an American bioengineer from the Caltech Center. In 1979 he graduated from Princeton University in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and has since had a fruitful career. She has been awarded numerous prizes and has been awarded by the “oriented evolution” method.

The method is to induce mutations in DNA to obtain new enzymes with determined activity. In two words, first, thousands of mutations are produced to get a lot of different enzymes. Then the function of these enzymes is tested and the most interesting ones are selected. Finally, changes are introduced to improve efficiency.

The method has many applications in green technologies. This led to, for example, an enzyme for the degradation of cellulose. This improved the process of obtaining biofuels from agricultural waste. It is currently applied in laboratories around the world and in many fields, from detergents to medicines.

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