Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

U. of I. alumni research scholar Martin Gruebele receives Bessel Prize

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Martin Gruebele, a professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has received a Wilhelm Friedrich Bessel Research Prize Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany.

Each year the foundation grants approximately 20 research awards to young scientists and scholars from abroad who already are recognized as outstanding researchers in their fields. The award winners are invited to work on research projects of their choice in cooperation with colleagues in Germany for a period of six months to one year. The award also includes a cash prize of 50,000 Euros (about $65,000 at current exchange rates).

Gruebele is conducting research with Martina Havenith and her research group at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in central Germany. This fall he will travel to Germany to study the motions of proteins while they are folding into their characteristic shapes, as well as the motions of water molecules surrounding proteins during the folding process. In order to study these motions, Gruebele uses long-wavelength lasers that produce "far infrared" light.

Gruebele received his bachelor's degree in 1984 and his doctorate in 1988 from the University of California at Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology before joining the faculty at Illinois in 1992. He serves as an Alumni Research Scholar in the department of chemistry, a researcher at the Beckman Institute and is the director of the U. of I.'s Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology.

Gruebele also has been honored with a Packard Fellowship, the Coblentz Award of the Coblentz Society, a Cottrell Scholarship from the Research Corporation, a Sloan Foundation fellowship, the Teacher-Scholar Award of the Dreyfus Foundation, and a Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He is a University Scholar and a fellow of the American Physical Society.