Martin Gruebele was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1964. He obtained his BS in 1984 and his PhD in 1988 at UC Berkeley, did a postdoc with Ahmed Zewail at Caltech, and then joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1992. There, he is currently the James R. Eiszner Chair in Chemistry, Professor of Physics, of Biophysics and Quantitative Biology, in the Center for Advanced Studies, and in the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine. His research interests include protein and RNA folding; fast dynamics in live cells; vibrational energy flow in molecules, quantum computing, measurement and control; nanoscale imaging of excited states; glassy dynamics; and locomotion behavior. He is a Fellow of the American Physical, Chemical and Biophysical Societies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences. He has edited for the Journal of Physical Chemistry, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Research Interests

The Gruebele group's current research focuses on four topics: (1) Protein and RNA dynamics, interactions and folding differ in-cell and in vitro. We study how the cellular milieu affects biological processes such as chaperoning, protein-RNA binding or enzyme processivity through effects such as crowding or sticking. (2) We use single molecule spectroscopy detected by a scanning tunneling tip to look at the excited state dynamics of nanomaterials ranging from carbon dots, tubes and threads, to quantum dots; we make movies of dynamics with sub-nanometer spatial and sub-picosecond temporal resolution; we also study the dynamics of glass surfaces to test modern theories of the glass transition. (3) We study locomotion of organisms ranging from bacteria to fish, with questions ranging from how the observed behavior is connected to the molecular level, to how to best classify behaviors automatically. (4) We study quantum dynamics of energy flow, quantum measurement, and quantum computing, with an emphasis on moderate-dimensional but exact simulations as well as simple models that account for the key observations. In connection with this, we are also interested in simple statistical mechanics-based transport models.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics