Schnell receives Arthur Winfree Prize

Author: Tammi Freehling

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The Society for Mathematical Biology (SMB) has selected Santiago Schnell, William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, as the recipient of the 2023 Arthur Winfree Prize. The Arthur Winfree Prize is one of two premier prizes in theoretical and mathematical biology, the other is the Akira Okubo Prize.

I still cannot believe this. It is an incredible honor to be recognized by my peers,” said Schnell, upon hearing the news that he was the chosen recipient. “I am humbled by this premier distinction and I look forward to giving a plenary talk at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology in 2023.”

The Arthur Winfree Prize honors a theoretician whose research has inspired significant new biology. Schnell was chosen for his seminal work on enzyme kinetics via the Schnell-Mendoza equation. His ground-breaking theories and mathematical modeling have been transformative for the fields of catalysis and enzyme kinetics and has inspired a resurgence of new mathematical biology research in enzyme kinetics. 

“This is a very high honour, which is only given to the top scientists in the field,” said Philip Maini, FRS, Schnell’s mentor at the University of Oxford, UK and past recipient of the Winfree Prize. In his role as president of SMB, Maini said, “Professor Schnell has contributed significant service to the mathematical biology community. He created a system that enables SMB members to interact within more focused subgroups and his leadership led to growth in the endowment. This has allowed the SMB to establish several new awards to recognise excellence in mathematical biology at different career stages.” 

“In summary, Professor Schnell has advanced the field of mathematical biology in several ways through excelling in truly interdisciplinary research and using his leadership skills to support the community at all levels,” Maini shared.

Schnell was invited by the US Environmental Protection Agency to be a member of the scientific advisory panel on protein digestion and to serve on its Board of Scientific Counselors. He was appointed to the international Standards for Reporting Enzymology Data Commission, comprised of the most highly-regarded enzymologists in the world. Schnell was elected Fellow of several prestigious scientific organizations including the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Latin American Academy of Sciences, and most recently the Royal Society of Medicine in the United Kingdom.