Santiago Schnell

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Santiago Schnell
Residence United States
Nationality Venezuelan /Spanish
Fields Mathematical biology
Institutions University of Michigan
Doctoral advisor Philip Maini
Notable awards James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Scientist Award, Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Santiago Schnell DPhil (Oxon) FRSC is a biophysical chemist and computational & mathematical biologist. He is Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, a U-M Brehm Investigator in the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research, and Professor of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan. He is considered a leader in Mathematical Biology, Computational Biology and Chemical Kinetics. His methods for modeling enzyme catalyzed reactions and reactions inside cells are one of the fast moving frontiers in computational biology according to the Institute for Scientific Information.[1]

Dr. Schnell's laboratory[2] investigates biochemical and biological systems comprising many interacting components, where modeling and theory may aid in the identification of the key mechanisms underlying the behavior of the system as a whole. The primary focus on his research is biochemical kinetics, protein homeostasis and protein folding diseases.



Dr. Schnell received his initial training in biological science from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela and doctorate in mathematical biology from the University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom. He pursued his doctoral and postdoctoral research under the supervision of Philip Maini, FRS in the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford.

Professional Work[edit]

From 2001-2004, he was Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church (a college of the University of Oxford) and a Research Fellow of the Welcome Trust at the Center for Mathematical Biology in the University of Oxford. He was Assistant Professor of Informatics and Associate Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington between 2004-2008. In 2008, he joined the University of Michigan as Associate Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, a U-M Brehm Investigator in the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research, and Associate Professor of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Schnell is President of the Society for Mathematical Biology. He serves on the Editorial Board of Mathematical Biosciences,.[3]


Dr. Schnell systematically investigated for the first time how the rate laws describing intracellular reactions vary as a function of the physico-chemical conditions of the intracellular environments. His work has focused to resolve the ambiguities in the quantitative analysis and modeling of reactions inside cells. He has also focused his research attention on deriving mathematical expressions to estimate enzyme kinetics parameters under different reaction conditions. He has systematically obtained equations to estimate kinetic parameters for the family of Michaelis-Menten reaction mechanisms and determined their region of validity for the initial enzyme and substrate concentrations. Dr. Schnell derived a generic expression, known nowadays as the Schnell-Mendoza equation, to determine the Michaelis-Menten constant and maximum velocity for enzyme catalyzed reactions following Michaelis-Menten kinetics using time course data.

In addition, Dr. Schnell has also extensive experience in developing multiscale models of developmental processes and cancer. His work has been highlighted in popular science magazines, such as American Scientist[4] (USA), Investigación y Ciencia[5] (Spain and Latin-America), Spektrum der Wissenschaft (Germany).

Teaching and Outreach[edit]

Dr. Schnell received the Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence from the School of Informatics at Indiana University in 2006. As a member the Hispanic and hidden disability communities, Dr. Schnell is actively promoting involvement of Hispanic, other minorities and disable people in science.[6] He is life member[7] of the Society for the Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science.


He has published over 100 articles in academic journals, edited several special issues and a book.[8] His most highly cited publications include:

  • T. E. Turner, S. Schnell and K. Burrage (2004). Stochastic approaches for modelling in vivo reactions. Computational Biology and Chemistry 28, 165-178. doi:10.1016/j.compbiolchem.2004.05.001
  • S. Schnell and T. E. Turner (2004). Reaction kinetics in intracellular environments with macromolecular crowding: simulations and rate laws. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 85, 235-260. doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2004.01.012
  • E. J. Crampin, S. Schnell and P. McSharry (2004). Mathematical and computational techniques to deduce complex biochemical reaction mechanisms. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 86, 77-112. doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2004.04.002
  • S. Schnell and C. Mendoza (1997). A closed-form solution for time-dependent enzyme kinetic. Journal of theoretical Biology 187, 207-212. doi:10.1006/jtbi.1997.0425
  • B. Ribba, T. Collin and S. Schnell (2006). A multiscale mathematical model of cancer, and its use in analyzing irradiation therapies. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 3, 7. doi:10.1186/1742-4682-3-7
  • S. Schnell and P. K. Maini (2003). A century of enzyme kinetics: Reliability of the KM and vmax estimates. Comments on Theoretical Biology 8, 169-187. doi:10.1080/08948550390206768
  • S. Schnell and P. K. Maini (2000). Enzyme kinetics at high enzyme concentration. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 62, 483-499. doi:10.1006/bulm.1999.0163
  • S. Schnell and C. Mendoza (1997). Enzymological considerations for a theoretical description of the Quantitative Competitive Polymerase Chain Reaction (QC-PCR). Journal of theoretical Biology 184, 433-440. doi:10.1006/jtbi.1996.0283
  • S. Schnell and C. Mendoza (1997). Theoretical description for polymerase chain reaction. Journal of theoretical Biology 188, 313-318. doi:10.1006/jtbi.1997.0473
  • S. Schnell and P. K. Maini (2000). Clock and induction model for somitogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 217, 415-420. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(200004)217:4<415::AID-DVDY8>3.0.CO;2-3
  • R. Grima and S. Schnell (2006). A systematic investigation of the rate laws valid in intracellular environments. Biophysical Chemistry 124, 1-10. doi:10.1016/j.bpc.2006.04.019


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