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Martin Gruebele

Profile picture for Martin Gruebele

Contact Information

Assistant: Kathleen Myerscough
(217) 300-4463

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, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry


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 spectro-microscopy of biological systems from in vitro to in-cell to in vivo; protein and RNA folding; protein-polymer dynamics at surfaces; complex molecular systems studied by computational theory from molecular dynamics to quantum dynamics; single-particle spectroscopy detected by scanning tunneling microscopy; locomotion behavior studies; nanomaterials structure and dynamics

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.

Awards and Honors

Hans Neurath Award (Protein Society), 2020
TREE Award (Research Corporation), 2018  
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, multiple entries between 1993-2022
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

Recent Publications

Firouzbakht, A., Haider, A., Gaalswyk, K., Alaeen, S., Ghosh, K., & Gruebele, M. (2024). HYPK: A marginally disordered protein sensitive to charge decoration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 121(18), Article e2316408121.

Maytin, A., & Gruebele, M. (2024). High index dielectric films on metals: An island of emission. Journal of Chemical Physics, 160(1), Article 014704.

Samuel Russell, P. P., Maytin, A. K., Rickard, M. M., Russell, M. C., Pogorelov, T. V., & Gruebele, M. (2024). Metastable States in the Hinge-Bending Landscape of an Enzyme in an Atomistic Cytoplasm Simulation. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 15(4), 940-946.

Scaletti, C., Russell, P. P. S., Hebel, K. J., Rickard, M. M., Boob, M., Danksagmüller, F., Taylor, S. A., Pogorelov, T. V., & Gruebele, M. (2024). Hydrogen bonding heterogeneity correlates with protein folding transition state passage time as revealed by data sonification. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 121(22), Article e2319094121.

Unnikrishnan, M., Wang, Y., Gruebele, M., & Murphy, C. J. (2024). Nanoparticle-assisted tubulin assembly is environment dependent. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(28), Article e2403034121.

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