Martin Gruebele

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Martin Gruebele
Born (1964-01-10) January 10, 1964 (age 52)
Stuttgart, Germany
Citizenship American
Fields Chemistry, Biophysics, Computational biology
Institutions University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Alma mater

University of California, Berkeley,

California Institute of Technology
Known for Protein folding, scanning tunneling microscopy, Ultrafast laser spectroscopy
Notable awards Sackler Prize, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Fellowship

Martin Gruebele (born January 10, 1964 in Stuttgart, Germany)[1] is a German-born American physical chemist [3] and biophysicist who is currently James R. Eiszner Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Physics, Professor of Biophysics and Computational Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he is the principal investigator of the Gruebele Group.The James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair was previously held by Peter Guy Wolynes.[2]


He completed his B.S in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984, advised by Ken Sauer (biophysics), Wilhelm Maier (organic synthesis), Richard J. Saykally (laser spectroscopy). He did his graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley in the laboratory of Richard J. Saykally and subsequently held a postdoctoral position with Ahmed Zewail at California Institute of Technology after which he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1992. Dr. Gruebele is also a faculty member of the Beckman Institute at UIUC and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Michigan State University.


His research is largely concerned with chemical and biological physics ranging from the kinetics of biological systems and quantum dynamics of energy flow within molecules to optically assisted scanning tunneling microscopy. A common theme of his research is the implementation of state-of-the-art laser techniques to interrogate and manipulate complex molecular systems, coupled with quantum or classical simulations leading to better understanding of Protein folding, Molecular vibration, and the switching of energy flow in large molecular structures on surfaces.[3]

He has published more than 200 articles in areas ranging from quantum computation to spectroscopy of high-energy molecules to folding of RNA in protein molecules in the test tube and inside cells.

Recent work[edit]

  • Tissue-imaging technique called non-linear interferometric vibrational imaging which produces easy-to-read, color-coded images of tissue, outlining clear tumor boundaries, with more than 99% confidence - in less than five minutes thus leading to much faster biopsy results.[4][5]
  • Fast relaxation imaging that combines fluorescence microscopy and fast temperature jumps to study protein dynamics inside the living cells.[6]
  • Nanosecond pressure jump technique that led to 100 times faster Protein folding and could help guide more accurate computer simulations for how complex proteins fold.[7][8]
  • Terahertz Absorption Spectroscopy elucidating for the first time the role of water as a designer fluid that helps proteins change shape.[9][10]
  • Two-state dynamics recorded in glassy Silicon for the first time using high-resolution imaging technology, that confirmed the glass like nature of amorphous silicon until Hydrogen is added.[11][12]


Gruebele has received numerous national and international awards, including the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize[13] in the Physical Sciences and Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel[14] Prize from von Humboldt Society.

He has been awarded A. P. Sloan Fellowship, Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society & Biophysical Society, a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Gruebele is also a very active collaborator on guest lectures at Hanoi University of Science when University of Illinois secured an agreement under Steven Zimmerman to port their Department of Chemistry undergraduate curriculum for Science upliftment in Vietnam.[15]

  • Member, National Academy of Sciences (USA, 2013) [16]
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (USA, 2010)[17]
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler International Prize (Tel Aviv University, 2008)
  • Member, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2008)
  • James R Eiszner Chair (University of Illinois, 2008)
  • Teaching Excellence Award (School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois, 2006)
  • William H and Janet Lycan Professorship (University of Illinois, 2006)
  • Fellow of the Biophysical Society[18] (Biophysical Society, 2005)
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Prize (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2005)
  • Associate of the Center for Advanced Studies (University of Illinois, 2003)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society(2002)
  • National Science Foundation Creativity Extension Award (2002)
  • Alumni Scholar Professorship (University of Illinois, 2002)
  • Coblentz Award[19] (Coblentz Society, 2000)
  • University Scholar (University of Illinois, 1998)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, 1998)
  • Alfred P Sloan Fellow (Sloan Foundation, 1997)
  • Teaching Excellence Award (School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois, 1995)
  • Cottrell Scholar Award (Research Corporation, 1995)
  • Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies (University of Illinois, 1995)
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellow (Packard Foundation, 1994)
  • National Young Investigator Award (NSF, 1994)
  • List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by their Students (University of Illinois, 1993)
  • O Beckman Award (University of Illinois Research Board, 1992)
  • Dreyfus New Faculty Award (Dreyfus Foundation, 1992)
  • Dow Chemical Graduate Fellow, (Dow Chemical, 1987-1988)
  • IBM Predoctoral Fellow, (IBM, 1986-1987)
  • University Fellow (University of California, Berkeley, 1984-1986)
  • Outstanding Teacher Award (University of California, Berkeley Department of Chemistry, 1985)
  • University Certificate of Distinction (University of California, Berkeley, 1984)
  • Department Citation for Highest Honors (University of California, Berkeley, 1984)


Gruebele is married to Nancy Makri,[20][21] who is also a Professor of Chemistry at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

He has a keen interest in cycling and has competed in many long distance events.[22][23][24]

He has a blog on his 2013 Race Across America.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CV,
  2. ^
  3. ^ Martin Gruebele / Faculty / Chemistry at Illinois
  4. ^ "Nonlinear Interferometric Vibrational Imaging Tissue-imaging Technique",, Nov. 30-2010
  5. ^ “New Tissue-imaging Technique Faster, More Accurate than Biopsies”,, Mon- 29 Nov 2010
  6. ^ ” Scientists observe protein folding in living cells for the first time” ,, February 28-2010
  7. ^ "Faster protein folding achieved through nanosecond pressure jump",, 6/3/2009
  8. ^ "Faster protein folding achieved through nanosecond pressure jump",, 6/3/2009
  9. ^ ” Water Is 'Designer Fluid' That Helps Proteins Change Shape” ,, Aug. 7-2008
  10. ^ “Water is 'designer fluid' that helps proteins change shape, scientists say”,, August 6-2008
  11. ^ “Researchers record two-state dynamics in glassy silicon” ,, June 14-2011
  12. ^ “Researchers record two-state dynamics in glassy silicon”,,June 15-2011
  13. ^ "Martin Gruebele has been awarded the 2008 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences", 11/20/2008
  14. ^ "U. of I. alumni research scholar Martin Gruebele receives Bessel Prize",5/1/2005
  15. ^ "East-West Partnership",, May 31, 2010
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ “Protein Folding” ,, Retrieved 2011-10-09
  18. ^ "Fellow of the Biophysical Society Award"
  19. ^ The Coblentz Award - The Coblentz Society
  20. ^ "Gutgsell Endowed Professor: Nancy Makri"
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ WildCard Cycling
  23. ^ My Name is Rob: The Hillsboro Roubaix Road Race
  24. ^ Martin Gruebele's Race Results at
  25. ^ Captain America & The Honey Badger

External links[edit]