Ms Margherita Botticelli BSc MSc

Ms Margherita Botticelli

School of Mathematics
PhD Student

Contact details

School of Mathematics
Watson Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Margherita is working on a multidisciplinary project in Mathematical Biology, supervised by Dr Fabian Spill and Pradeep Keshavanarayana. She is part of an interdisciplinary research group called Systems Mechano-Biology, led by Dr Spill. Her research focuses on collective cell migration of cancer cells and their interactions with the surrounding. To study these biological systems she uses mathematical and computational modelling.


  • MSc in Mathematics, Durham University, 2021
  • BSc in Mathematics, Sapienza University of Rome, 2020


Margherita graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome with a BSc in Mathematics. She completed her last year of the BSc at Aberystwyth University as part of the Erasmus programme. After the BSc, she completed an MSc in Mathematics from Durham University. There she became more passionate about Applied Mathematics and in particular Mathematical Biology. She approached mathematical modelling in cancer for the first time during her Master's dissertation titled "Network representation of a mathematical model for tissue invasion by cancer cells"

Doctoral research


Research Themes

  • Collective cell migration
  • Mathematical and computational modelling

Research Activity

Collective cell migration is a type of cell movement essential in various biological processes like morphogenesis, wound healing and cancer invasion. During cancer invasion of a primary or a secondary organ, the cancer cells colonise the surrounding environment and migrate either as single cells or in multicellular groups. When cancer cells migrate collectively, they coordinate the movement through cell-cell junctions, keeping them attached to each other. The cancer cells also alter the surrounding environment, the extracellular matrix (ECM), through cell-ECM adhesions and proteolysis activity, which results in ECM degradation.

Margherita is interested in better understanding the mechanical and chemical factors that affect collective cancer cell migration, like mechanical features of the ECM (e.g. stiffness) or chemical gradients such as chemotaxis and haptotaxis.

At the moment, she is focusing on studying the effects of ECM stiffness on collective cell migration in 3D using mathematical and computational modelling.