AN academic from the region has won one of the premier accolades for scientists from Britain and the Commonwealth.

Professor Eleanor Dodson, of York University's chemistry department, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

She is the first woman from York University to receive such an honour. Her husband, Professor Guy Dodson, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1994.

"This is a most unexpected honour," said Prof Eleanor Dodson. "I have been lucky to have had a career working with a wonderful group of researchers in a rapidly advancing field of structural biology, where we have been able to develop new techniques to meet ever more complicated challenges."

Prof Dodson has worked at the University of York since 1976. She has a degree in mathematics from the University of Melbourne, in her native Australia, and worked as a research assistant at the University of Oxford from 1961 to 1976.

She was appointed professor in York's chemistry department in 2001 and her research has focused on the development of crystallographic methods for the analysis of large biological molecules, such as proteins and DNA.

The head of department, Prof Robin Perutz, said: "The explosion in structural biology has depended on the parallel development of computational methods ever since the 1950s.

"The Royal Society has recognised Eleanor's extraordinarily important role in inventing new computational approaches to the solution of molecular structures."

Election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society is recognised worldwide as a sign of the highest distinction in science.