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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


My main research interests lie on the interface of theoretical physics, biology, mathematics and computer science. I am particularly interested in using algorithmic descriptions of structures and functional systems in order to quantify and classify their complexity. Examples of the application of such approaches include pattern detection in gene expression data, the classification of protein quaternary structure, the structure of genotype-phenotype maps, and the identification of large-scale features in complex networks. Connected to this I am also interested in interdiscliplinary applications of network analysis, particularly in the context of digital methods and large-scale data analysis in the humanities. I am always happy to discuss potential collaborations in any of these areas.

Currently I am also a Senior Research Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute in London, where I lead an effort to develop applications of machine learning to molecular biology.

Before coming to CEB I held a joint position between the Cavendish Laboratory and the Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge. 


Key publications: 

S. E. AhnertStructural properties of genotype-phenotype maps, 
Journal of the Royal Society Interface 14, 20170275 (2017) 

S. E. Ahnert, J. A. Marsh, H. Hernandez, C. V. Robinson, S. A. Teichmann 
Principles of assembly reveal a periodic table of protein complexes 
Science 350, 1331 (2015)

 J. Marsh, H. Rees, S. E. Ahnert, S. A. Teichmann 
Structural and evolutionary versatility in protein complexes with uneven stoichiometry Nature Communications 6, 6394 (2015)

M. Taylor-Teeples, L. Lin, M. de Lucas M, G. Turco, T. W. Toal, A. Gaudinier, N. F. Young, G. M. Trabucco, M. T. Veling, R. Lamothe, P. P. Handakumbura, G. Xiong, C. Wang, J. Corwin, N. Tsoukalas, L. Zhang, D. Ware, M. Pauly, D. J. Kliebenstein, K. Dehesh, I. Tagkopoulos, G. Breton, J. Pruneda-Paz, S. E. Ahnert, S. A. Kay, S. P. Hazen, S. M. Brady 
An Arabidopsis Gene Regulatory Network for Xylem Specification and Secondary Wall Biosynthesis Nature 517, 571 (2015)

S. F. Greenbury, I. G. Johnston, A. A. Louis, S. E. Ahnert A tractable genotype-phenotype map modelling the self-assembly of protein quaternary structure Journal of The Royal Society Interface 11, 20140249 (2014)

J. A. Marsh, H. Hernandez, Z. Hall, S. E. Ahnert, T. Perica, C. V. Robinson, S. A. Teichmann Protein complexes are under evolutionary selection to assemble via ordered pathways Cell 153, 461 (2013)

M. A. Moreno-Risueno, J. M. Van Norman, A. Moreno, J. Zhang, S. E. Ahnert, P. N. Benfey Oscillating Gene Expression Determines Competence for Periodic Arabidopsis Root Branching Science 329, 1306 (2010)

S. E. Ahnert, I. G. Johnston, T. M. A. Fink, J. P. K. Doye, A. A. Louis Self-assembly, modularity and physical complexity Physical Review E 82, 026117 (2010)

S. E. Ahnert, K. Willbrand, F. C. S. Brown, T. M. A. Fink Unbiased pattern detection in microarray data series Bioinformatics 22, 1471 (2006) 

University Assistant Professor

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