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Mar 20, 2017

Successful basic research with an industrial impact: Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez awarded the Jochen Block Prize 2017

In 2017 the Jochen Block Prize of the German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) goes to Dr. Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez of the TU München. This is in recognition of her exceptional contributions to an understanding of the catalytic conversion of short-chain hydrocarbons into valuable products. The Jochen Block Prize is conferred in acknowledgement of the achievements of up-and-coming scientists and comes with a cash sum of 3,000 euros. It will be presented during the 50th Annual Meeting of German Catalysis Scientists on 16 March 2017 in Weimar.

Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez is particularly interested in the oxidative activation of light alkanes, including methane, their reaction in nanoporous solids, and the conversion of methanol to light alkenes. To this end, she uses a combination of different analytical methods to investigate the mechanisms of catalytic conversions; among other things, this enables the selective synthesis of high-performance catalysts. She has also succeeded, for example, in explaining the connection between the morphology of the catalyst surface and the concentration of active sites in the selective oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane. The knowledge acquired can be applied to the synthesis of catalysts to selectively enhance their activity. A further research focus of Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez targets mimicking the catalytically active sites of enzymes in heterogeneous catalysts for selective conversion of methane to methanol. In her research activities, she bridges the gap between basic research and industrial application; the number of industrial partnerships documents the practical relevance of her research. The jury’s decision took into account not only the exceptional creativity of this young scientist, but also her ability to reconcile different research cultures in academia and industry.

Born in 1979, Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez studied chemical engineering at the University of Granada (Spain) and then obtained her PhD at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2008. After working for two years as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, she moved to the TU München in 2012 where she is currently working on her ‘Habilitation’.

 

 

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