Gabriela Schlau-Cohen

Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen is a Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Career Development Associate Professor at MIT in the Department of Chemistry.[1]

Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen
Alma materBrown University, University of California, Berkeley
Scientific career
InstitutionsMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Academic advisorsGraham Fleming, W.E. Moerner

Education and career

Schlau-Cohen received a B.S. with honors in chemical physics from Brown University in 2003. She completed her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2011 at the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked with Professor Graham R. Fleming as an American Association of University Women (AAUW) fellow. From 2011 to 2014, Schlau-Cohen was a Center for Molecular Analysis and Design (CMAD) postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. She worked with Professor W.E. Moerner and Professor Ed Solomon on oxidative enzyme mechanisms, employing “time-dependent, single-molecule spectroscopy and steady-state ensemble measurements to study the kinetics of electron transfer in Fet3p, the MCO [multi-copper oxidase ] responsible for iron uptake in yeast.”[2]

In 2015, Schlau-Cohen joined the faculty of MIT as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor on July 1, 2020.[3] Her research group at MIT, also known as the Schlau-Cohen Lab, is at the intersection of physical and biological chemistry. The lab focuses on using “a combination of single-molecule and ultrafast spectroscopies to explore the energetic and structural dynamics of biological systems.”[4] Schlau-Cohen’s team works to “develop and apply tools to uncover the conformational and photophysical mechanisms of photosynthetic light harvesting and its regulation.”[5]

Schlau-Cohen has served as Associate Director of the Bioinspired Light Escalated Chemistry Energy Frontier Research Center (BioLEC EFRC),[6] a member of the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Laser Science,[7] and as a STEM ambassador for the American Association of University Women.[8]

Awards and honors

2020 - The Journal of Physical Chemistry and PHYS Division Lectureship Award[5]

2020 - Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award[9]

2020 - James L. Kinsey Memorial Lecturer at Rice University

2018 - Scialog Fellow for Chemical Machinery of the Cell[10]

2018 - CIFAR Bio-inspired Solar Energy Fellow[11]

2018 - Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry[12]

2017 - NIH Director’s New Innovator Award[13]

2016 - CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar[14]

2016 - Beckman Young Investigator[15]

2015 - Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research

2013 - Postdoctoral Research Award, ACS PHYS Division[16]

2010-2011 - American Fellowship, American Association of University Women

2007 - Abramson Graduate Scholarship, University of California, Berkeley  

1999 - Esther Poncz Memorial Scholarship, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Selected Publications

  1. M. Son, A. Pinnola, S. C. Gordon, R. Bassi, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Observation of dissipative chlorophyll-to-carotenoid energy transfer in light-harvesting complex II in membrane nanodiscs. Nature Communications 2020, 11: 1295. doi:
  2. T. Kondo, J. B. Gordon, A. Pinnola, W. J. Chen, L. Dall’Osto, R. Bassi, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Microsecond and millisecond dynamics in the photosynthetic protein LHCSR1 observed by single-molecule correlation spectroscopy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 2019, 23, pp. 11247-11252. doi:
  3. M. Son, A. Pinnola, R. Bassi, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. The electronic structure of lutein 2 is optimized for light harvesting in plants. Chem 2019 , 5(3), pp. 575-584 (2019). doi:
  4. S. Quinn, S. Srinivasan, J. C. Gordon, W. He, K. Carraway, M. Coleman, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Single-molecule fluorescence detection of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in membrane discs. Biochemistry 2019, 58(4), pp. 286-294. doi:
  5. J. I. Ogren, A. L. Tong, S. Gordon, A. Chenu, Y. Lu, R. E. Blankenship, J. Cao, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Impact of the lipid bilayer on energy transfer kinetics in the photosynthetic protein LH2. Chemical Science 2018, 9, pp. 3095-3104. doi:
  6. T. Kondo, W. J. Chen, G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy of photosynthetic systems. Chemical Reviews 2017, 117(2), pp. 860–898. doi:
  7. G. S. Schlau-Cohen, J. Berry. Photosynthetic fluorescence, from molecule to planet. Physics Today 2015, 68(9), pp. 66-67. doi:
  8. G. S. Schlau-Cohen. Principles of light harvesting from single photosynthetic complexes. Interface Focus 2015, 5: 20140088. doi:
  9. G. S. Schlau-Cohen, H. Yang, T. P. J. Krüger, P. Xu, M. Gwizdala, R.van Grondelle, R.Croce, W. E. Moerner. Single-molecule identification of quenched and unquenched states of LHCII. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2015, 6(5), pp. 860-867. doi:


  1. "Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen – MIT Department of Chemistry". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  2. "Gabriela Schlau-Cohen | Department of Chemistry". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  3. "Dincă, Johnson, and Schlau-Cohen Receive Promotions – MIT Department of Chemistry". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  4. "The Schlau-Cohen Lab". The Schlau-Cohen Lab. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  5. "Meet the 2020 Recipients of The Journal of Physical Chemistry – PHYS Division Lectureship Awards". ACS Axial. 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  6. "People – biolec". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  7. "Executive Committee". Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  8. "People". The Schlau-Cohen Lab. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  9. "2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards". Dreyfus Foundation. 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  10. Advancement, Research Corporation for Science. "Scialog® – CMC Fellows and Facilitators". Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  11. "Bio -". CIFAR. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  12. "Chemformation monthly digest". March 30, 2018. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  13. "NIH Director's New Innovator Award Program - 2017 Award Recipients | NIH Common Fund". Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  14. "CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars". CIFAR. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  15. "Gabriela Schlau-Cohen". Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  16. "The Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society". Retrieved 2020-09-20.