Dr Isabella Marinelli PhD

Dr Isabella Marinelli

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Isabella Marinelli is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine (Institute of Metabolism and System Research. Her research focuses on the development of mathematical models that can be used to understand the dynamics of complex biological systems and eventually to support clinicians in their decision-making process. Isabella's work is at the interface between Mathematics, Biology, and Medicine. She is part of an interdisciplinary team, actively collaborating with medical doctors, physiologists, and experimentalists.

Part of the Centre for Systems, Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine

Centre Twitter handle - https://twitter.com/SMQB_UoB


  • PhD in Mathematics and Statistics 2019
  • MSc in Science in Mathematics, University of Trento, 2015
  • BSc in Mathematics, University of Pisa, 2012


Isabella obtained her BSc degree in Mathematics from the University of Pisa (Pisa, Italy), and an MSc degree in Mathematics from the University of Trento (Trento, Italy). Her interest in Medical and Biological Sciences led her to the study of different mathematical modelling applications in these fields.  For her BSc thesis, Isabella worked on a theoretical analysis of an age-structured epidemiological model for diffusion of hepatitis C. She then followed a more computational approach during her MSc project, writing a thesis based on the work she performed at the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Bilthoven, the Netherlands). The project included developing and analysing an age-structured transmission model for the dynamics of Varicella-Zoster Virus.

After these experiences in the epidemiology field, she turned towards some applications of mathematical modelling in physiology. Before starting her PhD, Isabella worked as an intern at BCAM - Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (Bilbao, Spain) on a model for the simulation of cortical spreading depression propagation on a real brain geometry.

She later joined the centre as a PhD student. Her doctoral project focused on the development of a physiologically grounded mathematical model (based on relevant and available experimental data) to describe the dynamics of electrically active pancreatic β-cells. For the work undertaken at BCAM, in 2019 Isabella was awarded her PhD in Mathematics and Statistics from the of the University of the Basque Country (Bilbao, Spain).

Isabella is currently working as Research Fellow at the Centre for Systems Modelling and Quantitative Biomedicine at the University of Birmingham.


Isabella's research is focused on understanding the complex oscillatory activity in pancreatic β-cells, which are responsible for secreting the insulin hormone in a pulsatile manner.

Her current work concerns the development of a mathematical model that can simultaneously account for a variety of significant experimental findings. The model can also be used to investigate the mechanisms behind bursts of electrical impulses produced by β-cells, resulting in intracellular calcium oscillations and pulsatile insulin secretion.


Marinelli I, Vo T, Gerardo-Giorda L, Bertram R, Transitions between bursting modes in the integrated oscillator model for pancreatic β-cells, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 454 (2018), pp. 310– 319.

Kroos JM, Marinelli I, Diez I, Cortes JM, Stramaglia S, Gerardo- Giorda L, Patient-specific computational modeling of cortical spreading depression via diffusion tensor imaging, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering, 33(11):e2874 (2017).

Marinelli I, van Lier A, de Melker H, Pugliese A, van Boven M, Estimation of age-specific rates of reactivation and immune boosting of the varicella zoster virus, Epidemics 19 (2017), pp. 1–12.