Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Martin Gruebele

James R. Eiszner Endowed Chair in Chemistry;
Professor of Physics and
Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology

Professor Gruebele received his B.S. degree in 1984, and his Ph.D. in 1988 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.


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.


E. K. Culyba, J. L. Price, S. R. Hanson, A. Dhar, C-H. Wong, M. Gruebele, E. T. Powers and J. W. Kelly, "Protein native state stabilization by placing aromatic side chains in N-glycosylated reverse turns", Science 331, 571-575 (2011).

S. Ebbinghaus and M. Gruebele, "Protein folding landscapes in the living cell", J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2, 314-319 (2011).

M. B. Prigozhin, K. Sarkar, W. C. Swope, M. Gruebele, and J. Pitera, "Reducing lambda repressor to the core", J. Phys. Chem. B 115, 2090-2096 (2011).

P. L. Walters, M. B. Prigozhin, T. Y. Takeshita, L. Xu, F. M. Olivarez and M. Gruebele, "Conformational energy gaps and scaling of conformer density in chain molecules", Chem. Phys. Lett. 507, 15-18 (2011).

D. Anunciado, A. Dhar, M. Gruebele, and A. M. Baranger, "Multistep kinetics of the U1A-SL2 RNA complex formation", J. Mol. Biol. 408, 896-908 (2011).

S. Ashtekar, G. Scott, J. Lyding, and M. Gruebele, "Direct observation of two-state surface dynamics on amorphous silicon", Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 235501 (2011).

A. Dhar, M. Prigozhin, H. Gelman and M. Gruebele, "Studying IDP Stability and Dynamics by Fast Relaxation Imaging in Living Cells",V. Uversky and A. K. Dunker, eds. In Intrinsically Disordered Proteins: Volume I. Experimental Techniques (Springer, Berlin, 2011).

K. Girdhar, G. Scott, Y. Chemla and M. Gruebele, "Better folding thermodynamics from kinetics", J. Chem. Phys. 135, 015102 (2011).

A. Dhar, K. Girdhar, D. Singh, S. Ebbinghaus and M. Gruebele, "Different protein stability and folding kinetics in the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and cytoplasm of living cells", Biophys. J. 101, 421-430 (2011).

H. Gelman, M. Platkov and M. Gruebele, “Rapidperturbation of free energy landscapes:frominvitrotoin vivo,” Chemistry: AEur. J. 18, 6420-6427 (2012).

S.Ebbinghaus, K. Meister, M. B. Prigozhin, A. L. DeVries, M. Havenith. J.Dzubiella and M. Gruebele, “Importance of short range binding and long rangesolvent interactions in helical anti-freeze peptide activity,”Biophys. J.Lett. 103,L20-22 (2012).

S.Denos, A. Dhar, and M. Gruebele, “Crowding effects on the small, fast-foldingprotein λ6-85,” Faraday Discussion 157, 451-462 (2012).

E.Berrios, M. Gruebele, D. Shyshlov, L. Wang and D. Babikov, “High fidelityquantum gates with vibrational qubits,”J.Phys. Chem. A. 116,11347-11354 (2012).

S.Ashtekar, J. Lyding and M. Gruebele, “Temperature-dependent dynamics ofindividual cooperatively rearranging regions on a glass surface,” Phys. Rev.Lett.109, 166103 (2012).

S.Ashtekar, D. Nguyen, K. Zhao, J. Lyding, W. Wang, and M. Gruebele, “Anobligatory glass surface,” J. Chem. Phys.137,141102 (2012).

M. Guo,Y. Xu and M. Gruebele, “Temperature dependence of protein folding kinetics inliving cells,” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 109,17863-17867 (2012).

M.Prigozhin and M. Gruebele, “Microsecond folding experiments and simulations: amatch is made,” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.15,3372-3388 (2013).

N.Kocherginsky and M. Gruebele, “A thermodynamic derivation of the reciprocalrelations,” J. Chem. Phys.138,124502 (2013).

M.Prigozhin, Y. Liu, A. J. Wirth, S. Kapoor, R. Winter, K. Schulten and M.Gruebele, “Misplaced helix slows down ultrafast pressure-jump refolding of λ6-85,”Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 110,8087-8092 (2013).

E.Berrios, and M. Gruebele, “Franck-Condon fingerprinting of vibration-tunnelingspectra,” J. Phys. Chem. A 117, 7535-7541(2013).


  • Member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 2013
  • Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2010
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, 2010, 2011, 2013
  • Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, 2008
  • Member, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize, von Humboldt Society
  • Coblentz Award, Coblentz Society
  • Dreyfus New Faculty Award
  • NSF National Young Investigator Award
  • Packard Fellowship
  • Cottrell Scholarship
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, UIUC
  • A. P. Sloan Fellow
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Fellow
  • University Scholar, UIUC
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Associate, Center for Advanced Study
  • NSF Creativity Extension Award
  • Baker Symposium Lecturer


Physics Today News Article (August 2011 issue, page 20) on a "kinder and gentler" way of measuring biomolecule stability.

"Biopsy Breakthough" covered by Debra Pressey for the News Gazette (see for reprint).

Inside Cover Story in Angewandte Chemie International Edition (p. 6302): S. J. Kim, B. Born, M. Havenith, and M. Gruebele, "Real-time detection of protein-water dynamics upon protein folding by Terahertz absorption spectroscopy," Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 47 (34), 6486-6489 (2008).


Photo of Martin Gruebele