Santiago Schnell, DPhil (Oxon), FRSC

Interim Chair, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
John A. Jacquez Collegiate Professor of Physiology
Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Computational Medicine & Biology

5132 Brehm Tower
1000 Wall St.
Ann Arbor, MI  48105

(734) 615-8733


Dr. Schnell joined the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology in 2008.  He is a William K. Brehm Investigator at the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Michigan Medical School.  Currently he serves as Program Director of the Educational Program Interfacing Computation and Engineering with Digestive and Metabolic Physiology, and Associate Director of Systems and Integrative Biology Training Program.

He received his Licentiate in Biology (degree equivalent to a M.Sc.) from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) and then his D.Phil. in Mathematical Biology from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), respectively. After his D.Phil. he held two prestigious research positions at the University of Oxford: Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church (a college of Oxford) and Senior Research Fellow of the Wellcome Trust at the Centre for Mathematical Biology within the Mathematical Institute.  Before joining the University of Michigan, he was Assistant Professor of Informatics at the Indiana University School of Informatics & Computing, and Associate Director of the Biocomplexity Institute.

Areas of Interest

Dr. Schnell’s research program departs from the premise that there is a continuum between health and disease; if we are capable of measuring this continuum, we will be in the position of detecting disease earlier and understanding it better to intervene more precisely. His research focuses on two broad areas: (i) the development of standard-methods to obtain high quality measurements in the biomedical sciences and scientometrics, and (ii) the development of mathematical models of complex biomedical systems with the goal of identifying the key mechanisms underlying the behavior of the system as a whole.  

Honors & Awards

  • José Gregorio Hernández Fellow, Venezuelan Academy of Medicine and Pembroke College (Oxford)
  • Junior Research Fellow (Christ Church), University of Oxford
  • Research Fellow of the Wellcome Trust, London
  • Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Indiana University
  • 21st Century Scientist Award, James S. McDonnell Foundation
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • League of Educational Excellence, University of Michigan
  • Endowment for Basic Science Teaching Award, University of Michigan
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Fellow of the Society for Mathematical Biology
  • Fellow of the Academia de Ciencias de América Latina
  • Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine, National Academy of Medicine


License in Biology, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela, 1997
Doctor of Philosophy (Mathematics), University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2003

Published Articles or Reviews

S Schnell, C Mendoza (1997). A closed-form solution for time-dependent enzyme kinetic. Journal of Theoretical Biology 187, 207-212.

S Schnell, PK Maini (2000). Enzyme kinetics at high enzyme concentration. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 62, 483-499.

S Schnell, TE Turner (2004). Reaction kinetics in intracellular environments with macromolecular crowding: simulations and rate laws. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 85, 235-260.

B Ribba, T Colin, S Schnell (2006) A multiscale mathematical model of cancer, and its use in analyzing irradiation therapies. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 3, 7.

R Grima, S Schnell (2006) A systematic investigation of the rate laws valid in intracellular environments. Biophysical Chemistry 124, 1-10.

S Schnell, R Grima, P Maini (2007). Multiscale modeling in biology. American Scientist 95, 134-42.

SM Hanson, S Schnell (2008) Reactant stationary approximation in enzyme kinetics. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 112, 8654-8658.

S Schnell (2014) Validity of the Michaelis‐Menten equation–steady‐state, or reactant stationary assumption: that is the question. FEBS Journal 281, 464–472.

MA Mourão, JB Hakim, S Schnell  (2014) Connecting the dots: The effects of macromolecular crowding on cell physiology. Biophysical Journal 107, 2761-2766.

KD Walton, M Whidden, Å Kolterud, SK Shoffner, MJ Czerwinski, J Kushwaha, N Parmar, D Chandhrasekhar, AM Freddo, S Schnell, DL Gumucio (2016) Villification in the mouse: Bmp signals control intestinal villus patterning. Development 143, 427-436.

W Stroberg, S Schnell (2016) On the estimation errors of K-M and V from time-course experiments using the Michaelis–Menten equation. Biophysical Chemistry 219, 17-27.

W Stroberg, S Schnell (2018) Do cellular condensates accelerate biochemical reactions? Lessons from microdroplet chemistry. Biophysical Journal 115, 3-8. 

W Stroberg, H Aktin, Y Savir, S Schnell (2018) How to design an optimal sensor network for the unfolded protein response. Molecular Biology of the Cell 29, 3052-3062.

W Stroberg, J Eilertsen, S Schnell (2019) Information processing by endoplasmic reticulum stress sensors. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 16, 20190288.

J Eilertsen, S Schnell (2020) The Quasi-Steady-State Approximations revisited: Timescales, small parameters, singularities, and normal forms in enzyme kinetics. Mathematical Biosciences 325, 108339.

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