santiago schnell, phd

Professor,  Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor,  Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics


Dr. Schnell is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is a Brehm Investigator in the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research at University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center.  He received a License (degree equivalent to M.Sc.) in Biology from Universidad Simón Bolívar (Venezuela) in 1996 and D.Phil. in Mathematical Biology from the University of Oxford (UK) in 2002. Following his doctoral studies, he was a Junior Research Fellow in Christ Church and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford from 2002-2004. Prior to joining the University of Michigan, Dr. Schnell was an Assistant Professor of Informatics and Associate Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Indiana University.

Research in Dr. Schnell’s laboratory focuses on investigating physiology 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. His laboratory’s research lies at the interface between physiology, biophysical chemistry, mathematics and scientific computing. One of the major projects of the Schnell lab is on theoretical characterization of the mechanisms and kinetics of protein misfolding and aggregation in protein folding diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, prion diseases, diabetes and cancer. Dr. Schnell has developed novel methodologies to model and investigate reactions inside cells.  Additional research projects in the Schnell laboratory include investigating the signaling pathways controlling ER stress during the progression of protein folding diseases, the modulation of cancer proliferation by altering the metabolic flux of malignant cells and the mechanisms of intestinal epithelium development and intestinal lengthening in early development.

Dr. Schnell is the Associate Director of the Systems & Integrative Biology Training Grant and Director of the Educational Program Interfacing Computation and Engineering with Digestive and Metabolic Physiology at the University of Michigan.  His research in computational systems biology has been continuously funded by National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and other entities.  Dr. Schnell has served in the Board of Directors of the Society for Mathematical Biology, and the editorial boards of Computational & Mathematical Methods in Medicine, IET Systems Biology, Mathematical Bioscience and Computational Biology & Chemistry.  He has also served on the board of scientific counselors of the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2012 Dr. Schnell was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry for his for work and discoveries in theoretical enzyme kinetics and modeling reactions inside cells.