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Dr. Sebastian Ahnert

Dr. Sebastian Ahnert

Royal Society University Research Fellow

King's College, Fellow and Director of Studies

Room 542 Mott Building
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue

Cambridge CB3 0HE
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337377


Sebastian Ahnert read physics (BA Hons) and mathematics (Part III) at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge before completing a PhD in the TCM group at the Cavendish Laboratory under Professor Mike Payne. During his PhD he became interested in the growing interface between statistical physics and biology and afterwards took up a postdoc at the Institut Curie in Paris. He returned to the Cavendish for a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, during which he spend six months at Northeastern University in Boston visiting the group of Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. In 2009 he took up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to work on quantitative measures of structural complexity in self-assembling systems.

Research Interests

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 and the identification of large-scale features in complex networks. 

Key Publications

Y. Y. Ahn, S. E. Ahnert, J. P. Bagrow, and A.-L. Barabasi "Flavor network and the principles of food pairing" Sci. Rep. 1:196 (2011)

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" Phys. Rev. E 82, 026117 (2010)

S. E. Ahnert, D. Garlaschelli, T. M. A. Fink, G. Caldarelli "An ensemble approach to the analysis of weighted networks" Phys. Rev. E 76, 016101 (2007)

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

S. E. Ahnert, M. C. Payne "General implementation of all possible positive-operator-value measures of single photon polarization states" Phys. Rev. A 71, 012330 (2005)