Muralee Murugesu was born in Negombo, Sri Lanka but spent most of his younger years in Paris, France. He studied chemistry at the University of Paris 7 Jussieu, graduating in 1997. He then studied at the University of East Anglia in England, under the guidance of Annie K. Powell, obtaining his MSc in 1999. He continued his PhD studies with A. K. Powell at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany where he obtained his PhD in October 2002 with top honours. His first postdoctoral appointment was at University of Florida, under the guidance of George Christou from 2003–2005. He subsequently undertook a second postdoctoral position in 2005 working jointly between the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco under the supervision of Jeff Long and the Nobel Laureate Stanley B. Prusiner.
In August 2006, Murugesu became an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa and was promoted to associate professor in July of 2011. His research focuses on the design and development of new synthetic methods towards novel nanoscale materials. Over the years, this work has been recognized by several awards including the Early Researcher Award, Young Researcher Award and he has been appointed as a University Research Chair in Nanotechnology.