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Murielle Delley

As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Murielle Delley aims to develop abundant inorganic materials as selective catalysts in chemical transformations, and examine electric fields as external control on catalysis for a customizable production of chemicals. This will contribute to achieving sustainable chemical processes.



Academic Career

  • Assistant Professor (non-tenure track), Chemistry Department, University of Basel, Switzerland, 2021-present
  • Research Group Leader, Chemistry Department, University of Basel, Switzerland, 2020-2021
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor James M. Mayer, Chemistry Department, Yale University, USA, 2017-2020
  • PhD with Professor Christophe Copéret, Chemistry Department, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, 2013-2017
  • Master and Bachelor studies in Chemistry, ETH Zürich, Switzerland, 2008-2012

Major Awards

  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) PRIMA research grant, 2020
  • Prix Schläfli in Chemistry, 2019
  • Dimitris N. Chorafas Award, 2018
  • ETH Medal for doctoral thesis, 2018
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017-2019
  • Participant at the Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) in Singapore, 2017
  • Best Oral Presentation Award, Catalysis Science & Engineering, Swiss Chemical Society Fall Meeting, 2014
  • Fellowship from the Scholarship Fund of the Swiss Chemical Industry (SSCI), 2014-2017

In the News


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Chemistry, Material Sciences, Physics

Research Location
Chemistry Department, University of Basel, Switzerland

For climate change mitigation and to safeguard our resources for future generations we need to develop more sustainable technologies and chemical processes. Modern society depends on the chemicals provided by the chemical industry, and 90% of industrial chemical processes operate using a heterogeneous catalyst. These catalysts are often based on noble metals, which are rare, expensive, and susceptible to poisoning. In addition, many current chemical processes are not efficient or selective enough, leading to waste of energy and resources. For a sustainable future, chemical processes should enable the formation of the desired chemical product only with minimal input of energy and resources, and use of abundant materials as catalysts.
Details of Research
Dr. Murielle Delley is working towards more sustainable chemical technologies by developing abundant materials as catalysts in chemical transformations and by investigating new controls on catalysis. Transition metal phosphide and chalcogenide materials have often similar catalytic properties as noble metals highlighting their potential as earth-abundant replacements. Dr. Delley explores catalysis by transition metal phosphides and chalcogenides through the development of a fundamental understanding of their interfacial chemistry. Inspired by the impressive catalytic machinery of nature – the enzymes – she envisions that the combined use of a chemical and a physical approach can maximize the efficiency and selectivity of catalytic materials: Chemically modified surfaces to provide the right environment for a desired reaction path, similar to the function-specific reaction pocket of enzymes, and electric fields as a physical control on catalysis paralleling the electrostatic effects thought to be critical for biological catalysis. Together, electric-field assisted catalysis by tailored inorganic materials could provide exciting opportunities for customizable chemical processes.