Gimzewski, James K.

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Distinguished Professor
Structural Biology
California NanoSystems Institute, Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration (CMISE)

Contact Information

Young Hall 3042A
(310) 794-7514
Young Hall B064, B112
(310) 206-8259

Short Biography

Professor Gimzewski received his B.S. degree in 1974 and his Ph.D. in 1977 at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the the Oregon State University Corvallis and Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Zürich, Switzerland from 1977-1983, he joined IBM Research Lab in Zürich as a project leader. In 2001, he joined the UCLA faculty.


Dr. Gimzewski is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the Nano & Pico Characterization Core Facility of the California NanoSystems Institute. Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, he was a group leader at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, where he research in nanoscale science and technology for more than 18 years. Dr. Gimzewski pioneered research on mechanical and electrical contacts with single atoms and molecules using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and was one of the first persons to image molecules with STM. His accomplishments include the first STM-based fabrication of molecular suprastructures at room temperature using mechanical forces to push molecules across surfaces, the discovery of single molecule rotors and the development of new micromechanical sensors based on nanotechnology, which explore ultimate limits of sensitivity and measurement. This approach was recently used to convert biochemical recognition into Nanomechanics. His current interests are in the nanomechanics of cells and bacteria where he collaborates with the UCLA Medical and Dental Schools. He is involved in projects that range from the operation of X-rays, ions and nuclear fusion using pyroelectric crystals, direct deposition of carbonn nanotubes and single molecule DNA profiling. Dr. Gimzewski is also involved in numerous art-science collaborative projects that have been exhibited in museums throughout the world.

Research Interest


Above: Immunofluorescence analysis of a clinical pleural effusion displaying two cell populations. Image shows the positive immunofluorescence triple labeling assay for DNA(blue fluorescence), F-actin(green fluorescence), and Ber-EP4(red fluorescence).

Jim Gimzewski's research is deeply connected with convergence and application of nanoscale science and technology with an emphasis on mechanics on the nanoscale. His research encompasses crucial aspects of physics, chemistry, engineering and life sciences, medicine and art. His research consists of:
(1) Nanomechanical dynamics and nanoarchitechtonics of living cells. This work is related to cancer, the action of drugs, environmental factors and other mutations in individual cells. The research pioneers the role of mechanics and cellular motion with the aim to develop new forms of medical diagnoses at the single cell level.
(2) Use of biochemistry and AFM to gene profile DNA on the single molecule level.
(3) Production of compact high energy beams of neutrons, photons, ions, and electrons using point source emitters coupled with piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects. Notable recent developments include the demonstration of thermo-nuclear fusion using a pocket-sized device powered by cooling the device by 20o C below ambient. Production of X-rays with fluxes suitable for X-ray radiology have also been demonstrated. (4) More recent work explores recyling of waste energy into electrical power.


Honors & Awards

  • Royal Society Elected Fellow
  • International Society for Nanoscale Science, Computation and Engineering Elected Member
  • World Innovation Foundation Elected Fellow
  • Royal Academy of Engineering, London, United Kingdom (FREng) Elected Fellow
  • Institute of Physics (FinstP), London, UK Elected Fellow


  • "Exosomes-biological liposomes as potential drug delivery agents"S. Sharma, V. Palanisamy, C. Mathisen, M. Schmidt, and J. Gimzewski,  Global Journal of Physical Chemistry 2 (2) (2011) Simplex Academic Publishers
  • "Atomic Force Microscopy for Medicine" in Life at the Nanoscale: Atomic Force Microscopy of Live Cells (ed. Yves Dufrene)S. Sharma and J. K. Gimzewski (Pan Stanford Publishing Pte. Ltd., Singapore, 2011)
  • "Chemical Wiring and Soldering toward All-Molecule Electronic Circuitry,"  - Y. Okawa, S. Mandal, C. Hu, Y. Tateyama, S. Goedecker, S. Tsukamoto, T. Hasegawa, J. K. Gimzewski, and M. Aono, JACS (published online 2011)
  • Thermodynamically Controlled Self-Assembly of Covalent Nanoarchitectures in Acqueous Solution -  R. Tanoue, R. Higuchi, N. Enoki, Y. Miyasato, S. Uemura, N. Kimizuka, A. Stieg, J.K. Gimzewski, M. Kunitake,  ACS Nano (published online 2011)
  • "Green tea extract selectively targets nanomechanics of live metastatic cancer cells," - S.E. Cross, Y. Jin, Q. Lu, J. Rao, J.K. Gimzewski,   Nanotechnology 22(21): 215101 (2011)
  • "Characterization of Ocular Tissues Using Micro-Indentation and Hertzian Viscoelastic Models," -  L. Yoo, J. Reed, A. Shin, J. King, J.K. Gimzewski, V. Poukens, R.A. Goldberg, R. Mancini, M. Taban, R. Moy, J. Demer,  Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, published online (Feb 2011)
  • "Memristive operations demonstrated by gap-type atomic switches," - T. Hasegawa, A. Nayak, T. Ohno, K. Terabe, T. Tsuruoka, J. K .Gimzewski and M. Aono,, Applied Physics A, published online (Feb 2011)
  • "Atomic Force Microscopy Reveals Drebrin Induced Remodeling of F-Actin with Subnanometer Resolution," -  Sharma, S., Grintsevich, E., Phillips, M., Reisler, E., and Gimzewski, J., Nano Letters 11(2): 825–827 (2011).
  • "Continuity of Graphene on Polycrystalline Copper," -  Rasool, H., Song, E., Allen, M., Wassei, J., Kaner, R., Wang, K., Weiller, B., and Gimzewski, J., Nano Letters11(1): 251-256 (2011).
  • "Local Probes: Pushing the limits of detection and interaction"  -  Gimzewski, J. and Stieg, A., in Klaus D. Sattler (ed.), Handbook of Nanophysics: Principles and Methods (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2011).
  • "Nanostructural and Transcriptomic Analyses of Human Saliva Derived Exosomes,"  -  Palanisamy V, Sharma S, Deshpande A, Zhou H, Gimzewski J, Wong D, PLoS ONE 5(1): e8577 (2010)
  • "What art can do for science: Learning to learn,"   -  J.K. Gimzewski, in R. Ascott et al (ed.), Making Reality Really Real (TEKS Publishing, Norway,2010)
  • "Localized Nanoscopic Surface Measurements of Nickel-Modified Mica for Single-Molecule DNA Sequence Sampling,"  -  C. Hsueh, H. Chen, J.K. Gimzewski, J. Reed, T. M. Abdel-Fattah, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2(11): 3249-3256 (2010)
  • "Modulation of Aged Murine T Lymphocytes In Vivo by DPV576-C, a Nanodiamond- and Nanoplatinum-coated Material,"  -  M. Ghoneum, A. Ghoneum, L. Tolentino, J.K. Gimzewski, In Vivo 24: 141-146 (2010)
  • "A low noise all-fiber interferometer for high resolutuin frequency modulated atomic force microscopy imaging in liquids,  --  I. Rasool, P.R. Wilkinson, A.Z. Stieg, J.K. Gimzewski, Review of Scientific Instruments 81: 023703 (2010)
  • "Structural-mechanical characterization of nanoparticle exosomes in human saliva, using correlative AFM, FESEM and Force Spectroscopy,"  -  S. Sharma, H.I. Rasool, V. Palanisamy, C. Mathisen, M. Schmidt, D. Wong, J.K. Gimzewski, ACSNano 4(4): 1921-1926 (2010)
  • "Nanocharacterization in Dentistry,"  -  S. Sharma, S.E. Cross, C. Hsueh, R.P. Wali, A.Z. Stieg, J.K. Gimzewski. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 11: 2523-2545 (2010)
  • "Construction of Robust Bio-nanotubes using the Controlled Self-Assembly of Component Proteins of Bacteriophage T4,"  -  N. Yokoi, H. Inaba, M. Terauchi, A.Z. Stieg, N.J.M. Sanghamitra, T. Koshiyama, K. Yutani, S. Kanamaru, F. Arisaka, T. Hikage, A. Suzuki, T. Yamane, J.K. Gimzewski, Y. Watanabe, S. Kitagawa, T. Ueno,Small 6(17): 1873-1879 (2010)
  • "Fourier transform mechanical spectroscopy of micro-fabricated electromechanical resonators: A novel, information-rich pulse method for sensor applications,"  -  R.P. Wali, P.R. Wilkinson, S. Eaimkhong, J. Hernando-Garcia, J.L. Sánchez-Rojas, A. Ababneh, J.K. Gimzewski, Sensors and Actuators B 147: 508-516 (2010)
  • "Influence of Substrates on Hepatocytes: A Nanomechanical Study,"  -  S. Sharma, S.E. Cross, S. French, O. Gonzalez, O. Petzold, W. Baker, W. Walczak, R. Yongsunthon, D. Baker, J.K. Gimzewski, Journal of Scanning Probe Microscopy 4: 1-10 (2009)
  • “Mechanical Interferometry of Nanoscale Motion and Local Mechanical Properties of Living Zebrafish Embryos,"  -  Jason Reed, Siddarth Ramakrishnan, Joanna Schmit, and James K. Gimzewski, ACS Nano (online, 2009)
  • “A breakthrough therapy for dentin hypersensitivity: how dental products containing 8% arginine and calcium carbonate work to deliver effective relief of sensitive teeth,”  -  Petrou I, Heu R, Stranick M, Lavender S, Zaidel L, Cummins D, Sullivan RJ, Hsueh C, Gimzewski JK., The Journal of Clinical Dentistry 20(1), 23-31 (2009).
  • reply to "Applicability of AFM in cancer detection,"  -  Sarah E. Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Jianyu Rao & James K. Gimzewski, Nature Nanotechnology 4, 72 - 73 (2009).
  • "In Situ Mechanical Interferometry of Matrigel Films,"  -  Reed, Jason; Walczak, Wanda; Petzold, Odessa; Gimzewski, James, Langmuir 25(1), 36–39 (2008).
  • "Nanomechanical properties of piezoresistive cantilevers: theory and experiment,"  -  Paul R. Wilkinson, William S. Klug, Brandon Van Leer, and James K. Gimzewski, Journal of Applied Physics 104(10), (2008).
  • “Live Cell Interferometry Reveals Cellular Dynamism During Force Propagation"  -  Reed, Jason; Troke, Joshua; Schmit, Joanna; Han, Sen; Teitell, Michael; and Gimzewski, James, ACS Nano 2 (5), 841-846 (2008).
  • "A flexible, highly stable electrochemical scanning probe microscope for nanoscale studies at the solid-liquid interface,"  -  A. Z. Stieg, H. I. Rasool, and J. K. Gimzewski, Review of Scientific Instruments 79, 103701 (2008).
  • “Interferometric profiling of microcantilevers in liquid,”  -  Jason Reed, Joanna Schmit, Sen Han, Paul Wilkinson, J.K. Gimzewski, Optics and Lasers in Engineering 47, 217-222 (2009).
  • “AFM-based analysis of human metastatic cancer cells,”  -  Sarah E Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Julianne Tondre, Roger Wong, JianYu Rao and James K Gimzewski, Nanotechnology 19(38), (2008).
  • “Atomic force microscope observation of branching in single transcript molecules derived from human cardiac muscle,”  -  Jason Reed, Carlin Hsueh, Bud Mishra and James K Gimzewski, Nanotechnology 19(38), (2008).
  • “Dynamic mechanical oscillations during metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly,”
  • Andrew E. Pelling, Paul R. Wilkinson, Richard Stringer and James K. Gimzewski
  • Journal of the Royal Society Interface 6, 29-37, (2009).
  • "Nanotechnology: The Endgame of Materialism,"
  • James K. Gimzewski
  • Leonardo 41(3), 259-264 (2008).
  • “High-throughput cell nano-mechanics with mechanical imaging interferometry,”
  • J. Reed, J. Troke, J. Schmit, S. Han, M. Teitell, and J.K. Gimzewski
  • Nanotechnology 19 (2008).
  • “Folding of a Donor–Acceptor Polyrotaxane Using Noncovalent Bonding Interactions,”
  • Wenyu Zhang, William R. Dichtel, Adam Z. Stieg, Diego Benítez, James K. Gimzewski, James R. Heath, and J. Fraser Stoddart
  • PNAS 105(18) 6514-6519 (2008).
  • “Performance advances in interferometric optical profilers for imaging and testing,”
  • J. Schmit, J. Reed, E. Novak and J. K. Gimzewski
  • Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics, 10 (2008).
  • “Nanomechanical analysis of cells from cancer patients,”
  • Sarah E. Cross, Yu-Sheng Jin, Jianyu Rao and James K. Gimzewski
  • Nature Nanotechnology 2, 780-783 (2007).
  • “Observation of image contrast and dimerization of decacyclene by low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy,”
  • Lisa Wesoloski, Adam Stieg, Masashi Kunitake, Shane Dultz and James Gimzewski
  • Journal of Chemical Physics 127, 174703 (2007).
  • “Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers for chemical detection in nitrogen,”
  • K. K. Park, H. J. Lee, G. G. Yaralioglu, A. S. Ergun, Ö. Oralkan, M. Kupnik, C. F. Quate, B. T. Khuri-Yakub, T. Braun, J.-P. Ramseyer, H. P. Lang, M. Hegner, and Ch. Gerber and J.K. Gimzewski
  • Appl. Phys. Lett. 91, 094102 (2007).
  • “Nanomechanical properties of Glucans and associated cell-surface adhesion of Streptococcus mutans probed by atomic force microscopy under in vivo conditions"
  • Cross, S.E., Kreth, J., Zhu, L., Sullivan, R., Shi, W., Qi, F. and Gimzewski, J.K.
  • Microbiology 153, 3124 - 3132 (2007).
  • “Distinct contributions of microtubule subtypes to cell membrane shape and stability"
  • Pelling, A. E., Dawson, D. W., Carreon, D. M., Christiansen, J. J., Shen, R. R., Teitell, M. A., and Gimzewski, J. K.
  • Nanomedicine 3, 43 (2007)
  • “Vertical inertial sliding drive for coarse and fine approaches in scanning probe microscopy"
  • Adam Z. Stieg, Paul Wilkinson and James K. Gimzewski
  • Review of Scientific Instruments, 78, 036110 (2007)
  • “Single molecule transcription profiling with AFM"
  • Jason Reed, Bub Mishra, Bede Pittenger, Sergei Maganov, Joshua Troke, Michael A. Teitell and James K. Gimzewski
  • Nanotechnology, 18(4), 044032 (2007)
  • "Applications of Imaging Interferometry"
  • Reed, J.; Wilkinson, P.; O Doherty, K.; Schmit, J.; Han, S.; Troke, J.; Teitell, M.; Klug, W.; Gimzewski, J.
  • Proceedings - SPIE The International Society For Optical Engineering, 6293, 629301 (2006)
  • “Scanning Tunneling Microscope Study of a Local Electronic State Surrounding Mn Nanoclusters on Graphite"
  • Katsumi Nagaoka, Lisa M. Wesoloski, James K. Gimzewski, Masakazu Aono and Tomonobu Nakayama
  • Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, 45(17), (2006) L469-L471
  • “Functional Characterization of Cell Wall-Associated Protein WapA in Streptococcus mutans"
  • L. Zhu, J. Kreth, S. E. Cross, J. K. Gimzewski, W. Shi and F. Qi
  • Microbiology, 152, (2006) 2395-2404
  • “Thin film interference in the optomechanical response of micromechanical silicon cantilevers"
  • Paul R. Wilkinson and J.K. Gimzewski
  • Applied Physics Letters 89, 241916 (2006)
  • “Nanotecnologia. L’último carta del materialisme: la metamorfosi de l’atomisme i la revolució de la creativitat" in Física de l’estètica: Noves fronteres de la ciència, l’art i el pensament"
  • J. K. Gimzewski
  • (KRTU, Barcelona, 2006)
  • Published in Catalan, translated by Xavier Pàmies
  • “Nanotechnology. The end game of materialism: metamorphosis to the atomistic and the revolution of creativity" in Physics of aesthetics: New boundaries of science, art and thought
  • “Observation of Nanoscale Dynamics in Cantilever Sensor Arrays"
  • Jason Reed, Paul Wilkinson, Joanna Schmit, William Klug and J. K. Gimzewski
  • Nanotechnology 17 (2006) 3873-3879
  • “Resorcin[4]arene Cavitand-Based Molecular Switches"
  • Vladimir A. Azov, Andrew Beeby, Martina Cacciarini, Andrew G. Cheetham, François Diederich, Markus Frei, James K. Gimzewski, Volker Gramlich, Bert Hecht, Bernhard Jaun, Tatiana Latychevskaia, Andreas Lieb, Yoriko Lill, Federica Marotti, Anna Schlegal, Reto R, Schlittler, Philip J. Skinner, Paul Seiler, and Yoko Yamakoshi
  • Advanced Functional Materials, 16(2), (2006) 147-156
  • “Self-Organized and Highly Ordered Domain Structures within Swarms of Myxococcus xanthus"
  • Andrew E. Pelling, Yinuo Li, Sarah E. Cross, Schryl Castaneda, Wenyuan Shi and James K. Gimzewski
  • Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton, 63(3), (2006) 141-148
  • “Atomic force microscopy study of the structure–function relationships of the biofilm-forming bacterium Streptococcus mutans"
  • Sarah E Cross, JensKreth, Lin Zhu, Fengxia Qi, Andrew E Pelling, Wenyuan Shi and James K Gimzewski
  • Nanotechnology, 17 (2006) S1-S7
  • “The Future" in Engineering Nature: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era (Ed. R. Ascott)
  • J. K. Gimzewski and V. Vesna
  • (Intellect, Bristol, 2006)