Dame Pratibha Gai DBE FREng FRS

Pratibha Gai is a materials chemist and an electron microscopist.  Her studies involve visualising chemical processes at the atomic scale.  Her research highlights include developments of improved nanomaterials and processes for catalysis, energy, healthcare, food coatings, and novel dynamic in-situ electron microscopy (EM) instrumentation.

She has pioneered advanced in-situ EM applications in the chemical sciences. With E D Boyes, she co-invented the analytical in-situ atomic resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM) and analytical in-situ environmental scanning TEM(ESTEM) with single atom resolution, to visualise and analyse dynamic gas-catalyst reactions underpinning key chemical processes, at the atomic level, in real time. Her research has helped to understand better how catalysts function, leading to new science. Her ETEM and process inventions are being exploited worldwide by EM manufacturers, chemical companies and researchers, with scientific and economic benefits.

Pratibha is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Her other honours include Gabor prize of the Institute of Physics and L'Oreal-UNESCO International Women in Science Award as the 2013 Laureate for Europe. She is an Honorary Fellow, Girton College, University of Cambridge. Prior to her current York assignments, she held positions in the USA and at the University of Oxford, after a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge.

Professional position

  • Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of York
  • Professor, Department of Physics, University of York
  • Founding Co-Director, The York JEOL Nanocentre, University of York

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics


  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, materials

  • Engineering

    Instrumentation, Materials science (incl materials engineering)

Dame Pratibha Gai DBE FREng FRS
Elected 2016