News and Media

Dr. Santiago Schnell was elected President of the Society for Mathematical Biology.  He will take over the presidency office at the Annual Meeting of the Society to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on June 30-July 3, 2015.

The Society for Mathematical Biology was founded in 1972 to promote the development and dissemination of research at the interface between the mathematical and biological sciences. It does so through its meetings, awards, and publications.

Dr. Santiago Schnell was recognized as one of the 175 Faces of Chemistry by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  175 Faces of Chemistry highlights and celebrates the diversity of the individuals, both past and present, who have helped to shape chemistry and science as a whole.  Visit Prof. Santiago Schnell's profile in the 175 Faces of Chemistry.

The Schnell Lab  developed a computer simulation algorithm to model biochemical reactions under conditions more realistic to those found in the cell. This University of Michigan research appears as a cover story in the March 21, 2014 issue of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.  The Schnell lab simulation approach will have considerable impact in understanding the role of new drug treatments for diseases. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health System Headlines.

The definition, regulation and function of intestinal stem cells has been hotly debated. Recent discoveries have started to clarify the nature of intestinal stem cells, but many questions remain. In our review article published as a back cover story in the March 2014 issue of Integrative Biology, we present a critical view of intestinal stem cell biology coupled with a focused discussion of mathematical modeling approaches used to probe stem cell dynamics. We discuss how compartmental modeling of the crypt combined with in vivo approaches can answer important  unsolved questions in the field. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health System Headlines.

Differences between some biological species are reflected by a unique and distinctive pattern that represents the way in which chemical interactions occur in their cells, according to Schnell Lab research that looks at metabolism of different biological species. Our findings appear as a cover story in the March 2013 issue of Molecular Biosystems. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health Systems Headlines.

Michelle Wynn has been awarded a James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award in Complex Systems. Michelle is a graduate student at the Sofia Merajver and Santiago Schnell laboratories. The postdoctoral fellowship provides $200,000 support for two years to pursue research directed toward the development of theoretical and mathematical tools that can be applied to the study of complex, adaptive, nonlinear systems. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health Systems Headlines.

Highly complex molecular networks, which play fundamental roles in almost all cellular processes, are known to be dysregulated in a number of diseases, most notably in cancer. As a consequence, there is a critical need to develop practical methodologies for constructing and analyzing molecular networks at a systems level. In our review article published in the November 2012 issue of Integrative Biology, we provide a brief tutorial on the use of logic-based models motivated with biological examples, which addressed some of the most commons concerns about this approach in the literature.

Dr. Santiago Schnell was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) on 25 November 2011. The Royal Society of Chemistry (London) was founded in 1841 and is the largest organization in Europe for the advancement of chemical sciences and the dissemination of chemical knowledge. Fellows are a select group of scientists recognized for their outstanding contributions to either the advancement or application of chemical science, the chemical science profession, or the management or direction of an organisation in which chemical science is important.

A computer analysis by the Schnell Laboratory at the University of Michigan Medical School shows promise for helping develop therapies for some major diseases by rescuing proteins that have stopped performing normally. Understanding the role of protein molecules is vital for health research and finding cures and medicines for diseases. The University of Michigan findings appear as a cover article in the April 20, 2011 issue of Biophysical Journal. Medical therapies may be developed to recover healthy proteins that are important to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Health System Newsroom.

Aberrant protein folding is believed to be closely linked to a variety of diseases, including permanent neonatal diabetes or type1A diabetes. Dr. Schnell's guiding hypothesis is that there are a limited number of reactions capable of causing the aggregation of aberrant proteins in the cells. If so, it should be possible to discover the essential reaction motifs that are the basis of the aberrant folding and aggregation of proteins in cells. To test this hypothesis, the Schnell lab will implement complex computational tools to investigate protein synthesis and folding reactions. The results of this research could be very important in the search for drugs aimed at modulating diseases such as type 1A diabetes, as well as other abberant folding diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease. For more information, visit the University of Michigan Brehm Center for Diabetes Research Newsroom.

Santiago Schnell talks to Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch and answers a few questions about his highly cited paper "Stochastic approaches for modelling in vivo reactions".  In a paper authored by Santiago Schnell, it is unraveled a new debate in the field of systems biology: what is the approprite modelling formulation to investigate reactions inside cells?  The interview was published in the July 2009's Fast Moving Front of Computer Science.

Almost every molecule we read about in the biochemical literature is on a path to something else or somewhere else and ever path has branches where decisions are made, outcomes influences, or balances shifted. A paper authored by Santiago Schnell reports on his team work on reconstructing biochemical transformation pathways using mass action data from perturbed systems over time. The analysis stars with a dictionary of allowed reactions from which the algorithm develops a nonlinear global model of selected elementary reactions. The change in output of product in response to perturbation of the input substrate indicated the connectivity of the pathway.  When applied to experimental data from glycolysis (seven steps from glucose to lactate as practiced byLactococcus lactis), the model was quite respectable.  The paper "Reconstructing biochemical pathways from time course data" was published in the systems biology special issue of Proteomics, Volume 7, Issue 6 (March 2007).  It was highlighted in the Proteomics podcast of March 2007.

The use of mathematical modeling to better understand the origin and progression of life system is the subject of American Scientist cover article "Multiscale Modeling in Biology" featuring the work of Santiago Schnell. The article was published in the March-April 2007 issue, Volume 95, Number 2. A related paper authored by Santiago Schnell is ranked first among the Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling most viewed articles of all time. This is a list of the most frequently accessed articles in the history of the journal, compiled using online access statistics of the publisher BioMedCentral. The article "A multiscale mathematical model of cancer, and its use in analyzing irradiation therapies" was coauthored with Benjamin Ribba and Thierry Colin, and appeared in Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 3: 7 (2006).

The Schnell Lab, University of Michigan Medical School

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