November 17, 2017

Miriam M. Unterlass (PI)

Miriam studied chemistry, process engineering and materials science in Würzburg (Germany), Southampton (United Kingdom) and Lyon (France). Between 2009 and 2011 she pursued her PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam-Golm (Germany). She then moved to the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) in Paris (France) as postodoctoral fellow in the group of Ludwik Leibler. In 2013 she joined the Technische Universität Wien (TU Wien) in Vienna (Austria), as independent research group leader. In September 2018 Miriam received  her habilitation (venia docendi) in materials chemistry, and became tenured assistant professor in 2019. Committed to seeing her research being implemented, Miriam co-founded her first company, UGP materials, in 2017 and acts as CSO there. Since 2018, Miriam is also an Adjunct Principal Investigator at the Research Centre for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM) in Vienna (Austria). In June 2021, Miriam joined the University of Konstanz (Germany) as full professor of solid state chemistry.

Miriam’s research interests revolve around compounds rich in aromatic and heterocyclic functions for either materials or biological applications, or both. A particular focus in the Unterlass Lab are non-classical synthesis of advanced organic materials especially via and hydrothermal synthesis and solid-state reactions of preorganized precursor crystals. The materials the group works on range from small molecules,[1-3] linear high-performance polymers (HPPs),[4-7] covalent organic frameworks (COFs) and networks,[8] and inorganic-organic hybrids,[9] – all typically rich in aromatics and heterocyclics. We study these materials with a broad range of state-of-the-art solid-state characterization techniques. Aside developing and studying non-classsical syntheses, the Unterlass Lab has a profound interest in crystallinity in organic solids, including crystal engineering, crystal growth, crystal structure analysis, and crystal morphology analysis.

Miriam is a passionate lecturer teaching several courses in solid-state chemistry,  materials chemistry, and nanoscience, both at BSc and MSc level (see course overview). Miriaam’s teaching has been awarded with several prizes. She and the entire team strongly value public outreach, especially when it comes to explaining natural science to lays and motivating children and adolescents for a scientific careers.



  • Synthetic method development | hydrothermal synthesis, solid-state synthesis, geomimetics, cyclocondensations, aqueous processing of organic materials, microwave-assisted synthesis, high-throughput synthesis
  • Organic materials | N-heterocycle-based materials, aromatic polymers, organic dyes, organic materials for energy applications, covalent-organic frameworks, anisotropic organic particles
  • Organic solid-state chemistry | crystal engineering, co-crystals, organic salts, intermolecular interactions (H-bonding, π-stacking) in organic solids, crystalline polymers, liquid crystals, crystal growth, powder and single-crystal X-ray diffraction, crystal morphology
  • Hybrid materials & composites | inorganic-organic hybrid materials, polymer-reinforced composites, green synthesis of hybrids
  • Chemical biology | fluorescent dyes, cell labelling, biologically active small molecules


  • German Chemical Society (GDCh)
  • Austrian Chemical Society (GÖCH)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
  • German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV)
  • European Crystallographic Society (ECA)
  • Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
  • International Solvothermal and Hydrothermal Association (ISHA)


  • Since 2021: Member of the board (Kuratorium) of the “Jubiläumsfonds der Stadt Wien”
  • 2020: Staatspreis Patent (Austrian national award for the best patent in the last two years)
  • Since 2020: Associate Editor of Journal of Materials Chemistry A (RSC) and Materials Advances (RSC)
  • Since 2020: Member of the selection committee for scholarships of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (representative for solid-state chemistry and materials chemistry)
  • Since 2020: Liaison professor for the Austrian study foundation Österreichische Studienstiftung.
  • Since 2019:  Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Forum Alpbach
  • Since 2019: Member of AcademiaNet (nominated by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF)
  • since 2019: Full member of the Wolfgang Pauli Institute (WPI) Vienna
  • 2019: Finalist in the RSC Emerging Technologies competition (category: Enabling Technologies) with my company UGP materials.
  • 2019: Selected as one of 100 Women in Materials Science by the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2019: Selected for the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State´s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (specific program: “Hidden No More: Empowering Women Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM)”)
  • 2018: Sallinger fonds S&B award (awarded to our company UGP materials)
  • 2018: Elected member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • 2017: PHÖNIX award (Austrian founders’ award) in the category prototypes
  • 2017: START prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
  • 2016-2018: Member of Fast Track by the Robert Bosch Stiftung
  • 2016: Pro Didactica Teaching award 2016 (2. place) in the category lecture – fairest exam in the BSc curriculum “Technical chemistry”at TU Wien with the lecture Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • 2016: Pro Didactica Teaching award 2016 (2. place) in the category lectures – best presentation in the BSc curriculum “Technical chemistry”at TU Wien with the lecture Inorganic Chemistry 1
  • 2016: INiTS start-up camp award 2016 at the i2c StartAcademy
  • 2016: Named one of of the Young Talents 2016 by the Journal Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics
  • 2015: Named one of the Emerging Investigators 2015 by the Journal Polymer Chemistry
  • 2015: Young Participant of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
  • 2014: Anton-Paar-Science-Award of the Austrian Chemical Society
  • 2014: Finalist of the Austrian Innovator of the Year Award


Acquired > 2.725M EUR for own group. Past and present Funding sources: FWF (START and stand-alone project), WWTF (chemical biology project), aws, CDG & FWF (Partnership in research program), FFG, aws (prototype and pre-seed funding), several projects with industry (confidential).


  • Associate Editor of Materials Chemistry A (RSC)
  • Associate Editor of Materials Advances (RSC)
  • Member of the selection committee for scholarships of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Associate Editor of Colloid and Polymer Science (Springer)
  • Member of the International Solvothermal and Hydrothermal Association (ISHA)
  • Editorial board member of iScience (Cell Press)
  • International advisory board member of Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics (Wiley)
  • Reviewer for scientific journals (ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, ACS Applied Polymer Materials, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, ACS Omega, Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science, Crystal Engineering and Materials, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Biomimetics, ChemCatChem, Chemical Monthly, Chemical Science, Chemistry Select, Chemistry – A European Journal, Chemical Society Reviews, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, European Polymer Journal, Green Chemistry, Green Processing and Synthesis, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Journal of Macromolecular Science A: Pure and Applied Chemistry, Journal of Materials Science, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Macromolecules, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, Materials Horizons, Molecules, Nanoscale, Nanoscale Horizons, Polymer Chemistry, Polymer International Processes, RSC Advances, Sensors)
  • Reviewer of book proposals for Elsevier
  • Reviewer for funding bodies (DFG German Science Foundation, ERC – European Research Council, IOF – Industrial Research Fund Flanders, NKFI – National Research, Development and Innovation Office, Hungary, NWO – Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research,, ÖAW – Austrian Academy of Sciences, SRDA – Slowak Research and Development Agency, WTZ-OeAD – Austrian Scientific and Technological Cooperation)
  • Conference (Co-)organization:  DVSPM 2017, SOM 2018
  • Guest editor of the special issue “Polymer Characterization and Morphology” of Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics (Wiley) together with Prof. Ophelia Tsui (Boston University) and Prof. Shinji Ando (Tokyo Institute of Technology); and the special issue “Polymer for the Future” of Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics together with Prof. Laura Hartmann (Universität Düsseldorf). 
  • Co-coordinator of the TU Wien the doctoral school “BIOINTERFACE
  • 2017-2020 Head of the division “Colloid research and rheology” of the Austrian Chemical Society (GÖCH)


  1. [OPEN ACCESS] B. Baumgartner, A. Svirkova, J. Bintinger, C. Hametner, M. Marchetti-Deschmann, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Green and highly efficient synthesis of perylene and naphthalene bisimides is nothing but waterChem. Commun. 2017, 53, 1229-1232. doi: 10.1039/C6CC06567H (inside front cover)
  1. [OPEN ACCESS] M. J. Taublaender, F. Glöcklhofer, M. Marchetti-Deschmann, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Green and Rapid Hydrothermal Crystallization and Synthesis of Fully Conjugated Aromatic Compounds“, Angew. Chem.Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 12270-12274. doi: 10.1002/anie.201801277
  2. F. A. Amaya-García, M. Caldera, A. Koren, S. Kubicek, J. Menche, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Green hydrothermal synthesis of fluorescent 2,3-diarylquinoxalines and large-scale computational comparison to existing alternatives“, ChemSusChem 2021, 14, 1-12. doi10.1002/cssc.202100433. (Cover page)
  3. B. Baumgartner, M. Puchberger, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Towards a General Understanding of Hydrothermal Polymerization of PolyimidesPolym. Chem. 20156, 5773-5781. doi: 10.1039/C5PY00231A  (invited for the Polymer Chemistry Emerging Investigator Issue 2015)
  4. [OPEN ACCESS] M. J. Taublaender, S. Mezzavilla, S. Thiele, F. Glöcklhofer, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Hydrothermal Generation of Conjugated Polymers on the Example of Pyrrone Polymers and Polybenzimidazoles”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 15050-15060. doi: 10.1002/anie.202000367 (Back cover page)
  5. [OPEN ACCESS] M. M. Unterlass*: “Geomimetics and Extreme Biomimetics Inspired by Hydrothermal Systems – What Can We Learn from Nature for Materials SynthesisBiomimetics 2017, 2(2), 8-27. doi: 10.3390/biomimetics2020008
  6. K. Kriechbaum#, D. A. Cerrón-Infantes#, B. Stöger, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Shape-Anisotropic Polyimide Particles by Solid-State Polycondensation of Monomer Salt Single Crystals” Macromolecules 201548, 8773-8780. doi10.1021/acs.macromol.5b01545 (# both authors contributed equally)
  7. M. Lahnsteiner et. al.
  8. [OPEN ACCESS] L. Leimhofer, B. Baumgartner, M. Puchberger, T. Prochaska, T. Konegger, and M. M. Unterlass*: “Green one-pot synthesis and processing of polyimide-silica hybrid materialsJ. Mater. Chem. A. 2017, 5, 16326-16335. doi: 10.1039/C7TA02498C