Dame Prof Pratibha Gai and Dr Joachim Frank Awarded RMS Honorary Fellowships

The RMS is pleased to welcome both Pratibha and Joachim as new Honorary Fellows.

Currently Professor of Electron Microscopy at the University of York and Director of the York JEOL Nanocentre, Professor Gai is widely known for co-inventing the atomic resolution environmental transmission electron microscope (ETEM) and later the atomic resolution in-situ aberration corrected ESEM. These instruments have allowed the dynamics of chemical reactions between gases and solids to be studied at the atomic scale and at semi-realistic pressures and temperatures. This means that structural changes can be seen by researchers in real time. This is key in understanding the underpinning mechanisms of chemical reactions such as catalysis, used in the vast majority of industrial chemical synthesis processes.

We were incredibly pleased to see Professor Pratibha Gai HonFRMS awarded a Damehood as part of the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to chemical sciences and technology.

Dame Professor Pratibha Gai HonFRMS was awarded her Honorary Fellowship by RMS President Prof Michelle Peckham and signed her name in the red book, filled with names and signatures of all our Honorary Fellows dating back to 1839. She was awarded at the ‘Microscopy: Advances, Innovation and Impact 2018’ meeting on the 27 September 2018 held at the Royal Society, London.

Dr Joachim Frank was born and trained in Germany, obtaining a Diploma from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where he studied the secondary electron emission of gold at its melting point (in 1967), and his PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, where he investigated high resolution electron micrographs using image difference and reconstruction methods, reflecting his early interest in using digital image processing of EM images. He was funded as a Harkness postdoctoral fellow to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, and then at Cornell, before returning to the Max Planck Institute, and then working at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. He began working on single-particle approaches in electron microscopy on taking up his position as senior research scientist at t the Wadsworth Centre in New York State, moving to be Professor at Albany State University.  He worked with Richard Henderson at the MRC Labs in Cambridge in 1987 and 1994, and with Ken Holmes at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, as a Humboldt Research Award winner.   He was made a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 1998, and joined Columbia University in 2008 as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences.  He has published many of his ground breaking papers in the society’s journal (the Journal of Microscopy).

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017, for his contribution to solving structures by cryoEM and single particle image processing, for his particular contribution of image processing to this technique, and we are recommending him for an honorary fellowship of the Royal Microscopical Society in recognition of this contribution.

Dr Joachim Frank HonFRMS was awarded his Honorary Fellowship on the 14 September 2018 whilst present at the ‘19th International Microscopy Congress’ held in Sydney, Australia.


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