Contact Dr Xavier Portell

Areas of expertise


I am a computational biologist whose research focuses on mathematical modelling of biological systems, especially focusing on microbiological relevant scales.  Specifically I have experience in modelling growth dynamics of yeast and the dynamics of the activity of soil bacteria at pore scale. My current research focuses on modelling of soil processes at the pore scale with special attention to fungal activity.  I am familiar with a range of modelling techniques including population-based microbial growth models, the lattice-Boltzmann approach, and linear programming but my main background is in Individual-based (aka, agent-based) modelling.

Current activities

My current research is framed into the NERC funded project named "Resilience of below-ground fungal communities: a mechanistic and trait-based approach". We aim mainly to identify which are the key soil properties and fungal traits make soil more or less resilient to changes, and  which management options can be beneficial to make soil more resilient to physical changes. To tackle the stated aims I am using and continuing the development of a 3D trait-based agent-based model of the fungal activity in the soil pore matrix. In our approach, 3D computed tomography images are used to understand and to take into account the influence of the soil structure on the fungal and soil resilience to perturbations.  


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Portell X & Ginovart M (2016) Towards an individual-based simulator of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the food science with predictive capabilities. In: Ninth International Conference on Simulation and Modelling in the Food and Bio-Industry 2016 (FOODSIM 2016), Ghent, 3-7 April 2016.
  • Ginovart M, Prats C & Portell X (2011) Sensitivity analysis and individual-based models in the study of yeast populations. In: 25th European Conference on Modelling and Simulation (ECMS 2011), Krakow, 7-10 June 2011.