Javier Ruiz-Martinez, Ph.D.


​Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering

Research Interests

​Professor Ruiz-Martinez's research interests lie at the interface of heterogeneous catalysis, material science, and spectroscopy. A strong emphasis is placed on unravelling the chemistry and kinetics behind chemical processes, such as catalyst synthesis, catalytic reactions and catalyst deactivation. My goal is to understand the structural properties of catalysts during synthesis and when working under real conditions, establishing relationships between material structure and catalytic performance/deactivation. The applied methodology is the development of novel spectroscopic tools and their application in industrially-relevant and model catalysts with well-defined porosity and reactive centers. My research projects involve the study of chemical reactions, such as C1 chemistry, selective hydrogenation, and halogen chemistry for the activation and production of chemicals. 

Selected Publications

  • Insight into the Effect of Water on the Methanol-to-Olefins Conversion in H-SAPO-34 from Molecular Simulations and ... 
    K. de Wispelaere, C.S. Wondergem, B. Ensing, K. Hemelsoet, E.J. Meijer, B.M. Weckhuysen, V...
    ACS Catal., 6, 1991, (2016)
  • Strategies for the Direct Catalytic Valorization of Methane using Heterogeneous Catalysis: Challenges and Opportuni... 
    A.I. Olivos-Suarez, A. Szecsenyi, E.J.M Hensen, J Ruiz-Martinez*, E.A. Pidko*, J. Gascon*
    ACS Catal., 6, 2965, (2016)
  • Catalytic Dehydrogenation of Light Alkanes on Metals and Metal Oxides 
    J.J.H.B. Sattler, J. Ruiz-Martínez, Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, B.M. Weckhuysen
    Chem. Rev., 114, 10613, (2014)
  • Correlating metal poisoning with zeolite deactivation in an individual catalyst particle by chemical and phase sens... 
    J. Ruiz-Martínez, A.M. Beale, U. Deka, M.G. O'Brien, P.D. Quinn, J.F.W. Mosselmans, B.M. W...
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 52, 5983, (2013)
  • Catalytic activity in individual cracking catalyst particles imaged throughout different life stages by selective s... 
    I.L.C. Buurmans, J. Ruiz-Martínez, W.V. Knowles, D. van der Beek, J.A. Bergwerff, E.T.C. V...
    Nature Chem. 3, 862, (2011)


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Utrecht University 2013
  • PhD, University of Alicante, 2009
  • MSC, University of Granada and Norwegian University of Science and Technology 2003
  • BSc, University of Granada, 2001

Professional Profile

  • 2019- present: Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2015-2019: Heterogeneous Catalysis Specialist, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, The Netherlands
  • 2013-2015: Assistant Professor, Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • American Chemical Society
  • Spanish Catalysis Society


  • 2012 NWO (Netherlands National Science Foundation) VENI career grant
  • Young scientist Prize awarded by the International Association of Catalysis Societies. ICC conference, Munich, Germany
  • “Extraordinary prize of doctorate” in Material Science 2009 at the University of Alicante

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​KAUST Catalysis Center (KCC)
  • Division of Physical Science and Engineering (PSA)

Research Interests Keywords

Heterogeneous catalysis Operando spectroscopy Nanomaterials C1 chemistry Selective hydrogenation Halogen chemistry Catalyst deactivation Reaction kinetics