• Research

Mark Alston

Computational Biologist


Contact details:

  • +44 (0) 1603 450 910 


I joined the Earlham Institute in Jan 2010 as a Computational Biologist specialising in the analysis of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data from environmental samples. Applying techniques such as assembly, taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional annotation, as well as network, SNP/strain and statistical analyses, I provide insight into the complex communities of microbes that live on us, in us and around us. Working closely with ‘wet-lab’ scientists we put these data into a biological context. Currently I am studying the engineering of synthetic microbial communities for biomethane production, and comparing the functional profiles of microbes located in crop plant rhizospheres.

Prior to joining EI, I gained an MSc in Computer Science before joining the Foodborne Bacterial Pathogens group at the Institute of Food Research where I provided bioinformatics know-how for the analysis and interpretation of transcriptomic and regulatory network data. 

With a first degree and PhD in biochemistry, my previous roles in academia and industry applied novel biocatalysts to challenges in the synthesis of natural compounds, drug intermediates and microemulsions for flavour delivery; industrial collaborations with the likes of Glaxo, Quest International, Dalgety and Unilever resulted in several publications and patents.