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.


M. Gruebele, "Protein dynamics in simulation and experiment," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 16695-16697 (2014).

D. Shyshlov, E. Berrios, M. Gruebele, D. Babikov and M. Gruebele, "On Readout of Vibrational Qubits using Quantum Beats," J. Chem. Phys. 141, 224306(1-7) (2014).

D. Nguyen, J. Mallek, A. N. Cloud, J. R. Abelson, G. S. Girolami, J. Lyding and M. Gruebele, "The energy landscape of glassy dynamics on the HfB2 surface," J. Chem. Phys. 141, 204501(1-10) (2014).

M. Guo, H. Gelman and M. Gruebele, "Coupled protein diffusion and folding in the cell," PLOS ONE 9, e113040(1-17) (2014)

L. Nienhaus, D. Gross, Z. Xue, J. Moore, and M. Gruebele, "Intramolecular energy transfer in a synthetic dendron-based light harvesting system," J. Photochem. Photobiol. 295, 26-33 (2014).

M. Platkov, and M. Gruebele "Periodic and stochastic thermal modulation of protein folding kinetics," J. Chem. Phys. 141, 035103 (2014). PMC ID: PMC 4119260.

L. Nienhaus, G. E. Scott, R. Haasch, S. Wieghold and M. Gruebele, "Transparent metal films for detection of single molecule optical absorption by STM ," J. Phys. Chem. C 118, 13196-13202 (2014).

S.H. Chao, S. S. Matthews, R. Paxman, A. Aksimentiev, M. Gruebele and J. Price, " Two structural scenarios for protein stabilization by PEG," J. Phys. Chem. B 118, 8388-8395 (2014).

J. Goodman, S.-H. Chao, T. Pogorelov and M. Gruebele, "Filling up the heme pocket stabilizes apomyoglobin and speeds up its folding," J. Phys. Chem. B 118, 6511-6518 (2014).

H. Gelman and M. Gruebele, "Fast protein folding kinetics," Quart. Rev. Biophys. 47, 95-142 (2014).

M. Gruebele, "CARPe diem," Biophys. J. 107, 3-4 (2014). [News and Views]

Y. Liu, M. Prigozhin, K. Schulten, and M. Gruebele, "Observation of complete pressure-jump protein refolding in molecular dynamics simulation and experiment," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 4265-4272 (2014). [cover article] PMCID: PMC3985862

M. Guo and M. Gruebele, "Spatio-temporal fluctuations of protein folding in living cells," in Molecular Science of Fluctuations: Towards Biological Function, M. Terazima, ed., Springer, Berlin 2014.

H. Gelman and M. Gruebele, "Fast protein folding kinetics," Quart. Rev. Biophys., 47, 95-142 (2014).

I. Guzman, H. Gelman, J. Tai and M. Gruebele, "The extracellular protein VlsE is destabilized inside cells," J. Mol. Biol. 426, 11-20 (2014).

A. J. Wirth and M. Gruebele, " Temporal variation of a protein folding landscape across the cell cycle," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 19215-19221 (2013).

W. A. Eaton, M. Gruebele, V. Lubchenko and J. N. Onuchic, "Tribute to Peter G. Wolynes," J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 12669-12671 (2013). [Preamble to a Festschrift]

M. Gruebele and D. Thirumalai, "Perspective: Reaches of chemical physics in biology," J. Chem. Phys. 139, 121701 (2013). [Introductory article for a special issue]

E. Berrios, S. Pratt, P. Tripathi and M. Gruebele, "More protected states at the dissociation limit of SCCl2," J. Phys. Chem. A 117, 12082-12090 (2013).

H. Gelman, T. Perlova and M. Gruebele, "Dodine as a protein denaturant: the best of two worlds," J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 13090-13097 (2013).

A. J. Wirth and M. Gruebele, "Leaving the test-tube behind: Quinary protein structure and the consequences of crowding in living cells," BioEssays 35, 984-993 (2013).

E. Berrios, and M. Gruebele, "Franck-Condon fingerprinting of vibration-tunneling spectra," J. Phys. Chem. A 117, 7535-7541 (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). PMCID: PMC3657825.

Y. Matsumura, S. J. Kim, M. Shinjo, N. Okishio, M. Gruebele and H. Kihara, "Resolving early events of PI3K and Fyn SH3 domain folding by cryo-stopped flow," J. Phys. Chem. B 117, 4836-4843 (2013).

N. Kocherginsky and M. Gruebele, "A thermodynamic derivation of the reciprocal relations," J. Chem. Phys. 138, 124502 (1-6) (2013).

M. Prigozhin and M. Gruebele, "Microsecond folding experiments and simulations: a match is made," Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15, 3372-3388 (2013).

S. P. Boulos, M. B. Prigozhin, Y. Liu, A. J. Wirth, S. A. Boppart, M. Gruebele, and C. J. Murphy, "The Gold Nanorod-Biology Interface: From Proteins to Cells to Tissue," Curr. Phys. Chem. 3, (2013). [H. Bohr special issue on nanobiology]

K. Meister, S. Ebbinghaus, Y.Xu, J. G. Duman, A.L. DeVries, M. Gruebele, D. M. Leitner and M. Havenith, "Long-range protein-water dynamics in hyperactive insect antifreeze proteins," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 100, 1617-1622 (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