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Department of Chemistry David Tilley

Prof. Dr. David Tilley

David Tilley was born in the United States in 1980. He attended Cartersville High School, in a small town north of Atlanta, Georgia. In 2002, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Georgia, with a minor in Spanish. He then headed west to continue his studies, and in 2007 received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley under the supervision of Prof. Matthew Francis. At Berkeley, he pioneered a new transition metal-catalyzed method for site-selective modification of the tyrosine residues of proteins, with the aim of fabricating new biomaterials based on viral capsids. Afterwards, he joined the laboratory of Prof. Erik Sorensen at Princeton University as a postdoctoral researcher (2007-2009) in order to further hone his synthetic skills, pursuing a total synthesis of the polycyclic anti-tubercular natural product hirsutellone B. At this stage, his burgeoning interest in the energy problem became so great that he chose to dive into a completely new field to learn how to generate hydrogen fuel from water. He received training in photoelectrochemistry as an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Michael Grätzel at the EPFL in Switzerland, working on water oxidation catalysis on hematite photoanodes. Following this postdoctoral fellowship, he served as Group Leader for the water splitting subgroup in the Grätzel laboratory from 2011-2014, while also continuing research on copper oxide photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. He was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UZH in 2015 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020.