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Fellows Directory

Pratibha Gai

Pratibha Gai

Professor Dame Pratibha Gai DBE FREng FRS


Elected: 2016


Pratibha Gai is a materials chemist and an electron microscopist who studies atomic processes in reacting solids during chemical reactions in catalysis.  Her research highlights include the development of new nanomaterials and processes for catalysis, energy storage, healthcare, food coatings, and novel microscopy instrumentation. 

She has pioneered advanced in-situ electron microscopy applications in the chemical sciences and with E D Boyes co-invented the atomic resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM). The ETEM enables the visualisation and analysis on the atomic scale of dynamic gas-catalyst reactions underpinning key chemical processes. Her research has helped to understand better how catalysts function, leading to valuable new science. Her microscope and process inventions are being exploited worldwide by microscope manufacturers, chemical companies and researchers.

Pratibha is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Her other honours include the Gabor prize of the Institute of Physics and the L’Oreal-UNESCO 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 positions

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

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Astronomy and physics
    • Crystallography
  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry, materials
  • Engineering
    • Instrumentation, Materials science (incl materials engineering)


Catalysis, In-situ studies of dynamic catalysts, Solid-state chemistry, Environmental electron microscopy, sample holders for liquids and high temperatures

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