Martin Gruebele

 Martin Gruebele

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois
A220 CLSL, Box 5-6
600 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry and Head, Department of Chemistry
Visit Website

Additional Campus Affiliations


Professor Gruebele received his B.S. degree in 1984, and his Ph.D. in 1988, both from the University of California at Berkeley. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in 1992. Dr. Gruebele is also a faculty member of the Beckman Institute.

Research Interests

  • time-resolved spectroscopy applied to biological systems; protein folding dynamics; dynamics of complex chemical systems studied by laser spectroscopy and computational theory; current projects include control of energy flow in highly excited organic molecules

Research Description

The Gruebele Group is engaged in experiments and computational modeling to study a broad range of fundamental problems in chemical and biological physics. A common theme in these experiments is the implementation of state-of-the-art laser techniques to interrogate and manipulate complex molecular systems, coupled with quantum or classical simulations. The results of these efforts are contributing to a deeper understanding of the way that proteins fold into functional 3-dimensional molecules, the details of how chemical bonds are broken by vibrational motion and how this can be controlled, and the switching of energy flow in large molecular structures on surfaces.

Distinctions / Awards

  • Nakanishi Prize (ACS and The Chemical Society of Japan), 2017
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2015
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, 2010-2016
  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 2013
  • Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, 2008
  • Member, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, 2008
  • Fellow of the Biophysical Society, 2006
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize, von Humboldt Society, 2005
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2002
  • Coblentz Award, Coblentz Society, 1999
  • Dreyfus New Faculty Award
  • NSF National Young Investigator Award
  • Sloan Fellow
  • Cottrell Scholar
  • Packard Fellow

External URLs

In The News

  • Lydia Kisley, a Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow, and colleagues including Martin Grueble and Deborah Leckband, recently used Fast Relaxation Imaging (FReI) to investigate the folding stability and dynamics of proteins within polyacrylamide hydrogels.

  • Every few years, CAS elects a few campus faculty to the position of permanent CAS Professor. Jonathan Sweedler is currently a CAS Professor. He will be joined by three new CAS Professors: Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Catherine Murphy, and Martin Gruebele.

  • Martin Gruebele will be awarded the 2017 Nakanishi Prize at the Plenary ACS National Award Ceremony for his landmark spectroscopic studies showing how proteins initiate their folding on ultrafast time scales and how they fold in individual living cells. The Gruebele group uses lasers, microscopy, and computational approaches to explore complex biochemical processes such as transport of unfolded proteins within a cell.

  • Martin Gruebele and Marinda Li Wu were announced as 2015 American Chemical Society Fellows in the July 13 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.

  • When a large protein unfolds in transit through a cell, it slows down and can get stuck in traffic. Using a specialized microscope -- a sort of cellular traffic camera -- University of Illinois chemists now can watch the way the unfolded protein diffuses.