A UNIVERSITY academic has been appointed a dame (DBE) in the New Year’s Honours for services to chemical sciences and technology.

Pratibha Gai is a professor of electron microscopy in the departments of chemistry and physics at the University of York, and the founding co-director of York’s JEOL Nanocentre.

She studies dynamic atomic processes in reacting solids during chemical reactions.

Professor Gai’s research includes the development of new nanomaterials and chemical processes for use in energy, healthcare, chemicals and food coatings.

She is a pioneer in advanced electron microscopy to analyse gas-catalyst reactions which are at the heart of industrial processes including pollution control.

These chemical processes and electron microscopy inventions are used worldwide.

Professor Gai said: “I am humbled to receive this national honour and delighted that the research has received this wonderful recognition.

“This honour belongs to all the outstanding co-researchers and staff I have collaborated with. I am grateful to them and my main funders the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).”

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng).

In 2010, she won the Gabor medal and prize of the Institute of Physics, and was awarded the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award as the 2013 Laureate for Europe.

Prior to her university position, she worked in the USA and the University of Oxford after gaining a PhD in physics from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Koen Lamberts, the University of York’s vice chancellor, said: “Pratibha is an outstanding academic who has contributed hugely to chemical sciences and technology over many years.

“She is an inspirational leader in her field and this honour is a wonderful acknowledgement of the impact her research has made in the world.”